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TEHRAN (FNA)- A group of former US diplomats and US national security officials called on President Joe Biden to publish a list of sanctions that Washington would immediately impose on Russia if tensions over Ukraine escalated.

“We believe the United States should, in closest consultation with its NATO allies and with Ukraine, take immediate steps to affect the Kremlin’s cost-benefit calculations before the Russian leadership opts for further military escalation. This means raising the costs that would ensue should the Russian military launch a new assault on Ukraine,” former diplomats announced in a statement published on the website of NATO’s think-tank, Atlantic Council, Sputnik reported.

Former officials also urged the US administration and NATO allies to seek de-escalation prior to any substantial discussion with Kremlin, which should include all parties whose security and interests might be compromised.

The statement was signed by more than 20 people, including former US ambassadors to Russia Michael McFaul and Alexander Vershbow, former State Department special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and prominent political scientist Francis Fukuyama, known as the author of The End of History.

On late Thursday, Biden held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they discussed the security in Europe and the escalation of tensions linked to Ukraine.

The US and NATO have voiced concerns over Russia’s alleged preparations for invading Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, stating that Russia has the right to relocate the troops within its territory at its own discretion, while NATO’s military activity near Russian borders poses a threat to its security.

In December, Russia released proposals on security guarantees to NATO and the United States that seek to prevent the alliance’s further expansion Eastward and ban the deployment of US and Russian intermediate and short-range missiles within reach of each other’s territory, among other items.

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Negotiations on security guarantees between Moscow and Washington are scheduled for January 10, followed by a Russia-NATO Council meeting to discuss the issue on January 12, and the summit of Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the following day.

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