U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are holding a high-stakes virtual summit on Tuesday, with Moscow’s massing of troops along the Ukrainian border for a possible invasion at the forefront of their discussions.

The White House says Biden is ready to warn Putin that Russia would face tough economic sanctions if it invades the former Soviet state after it already annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. Moscow has positioned 70,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border, with U.S. officials suspecting an invasion is possible in early 2022.

WATCH: US and Russia leaders to meet 

White House officials said the U.S. would exact “a very real cost” against the Kremlin if it launches the invasion. Putin, in turn, wants the U.S. to guarantee that the post-World War II NATO military alliance will never expand to include Ukraine, a demand the Americans and their 29 allies will not accept.

In advance of the meeting, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, “We’ve consulted significantly with our allies and believe we have a path forward that would impose significant and severe harm on the Russian economy,” in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“You can call that a threat,” she said. “You can call that a fact. You can call that preparation. You can call it whatever you want to call it.”

Administration officials say Moscow has launched a massive cyberspace disinformation campaign against Ukraine’s government in Kyiv that echoes Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea. At the time, the U.S. administration of former president Barack Obama, with Biden as vice president, condemned the invasion but did not respond militarily.

At Tuesday’s summit, Biden will be speaking from the Situation Room at the White House and Putin from his retreat in Sochi.

Ahead of the talks, Kyiv contended that Russia is sending tanks and snipers to war-torn eastern Ukraine to “provoke return fire.” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry accused Russia of holding “training camps under the leadership of regular servicemen of the Russian armed forces.” Moscow has not commented on the allegations.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. A State Department spokesman said the top U.S. diplomat assured him of the “the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression.”

U.S. intelligence has not determined whether Putin has made a final decision to invade. But a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity said Biden intends to make clear to the Russian leader that there will be a “very real cost” should Russia proceed with a military invasion, although it was not immediately clear what economic sanctions the U.S. and its allies might impose.

Putin has been at a loss to curb NATO expansion. Numerous former Soviet-satellite states have been added to the 72-year-old alliance, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999.

There is little prospect that Ukraine would be invited into NATO anytime soon, but the U.S. and its allies have not ruled it out. No outsider, such as Russia, has membership veto power.

Biden’s talks with Putin come as opposition Republican lawmakers have increasingly criticized his performance on the world stage. They contend the Democratic president has done little to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons development program even though Tehran claims it is for peaceful purposes or limit China’s military strength in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Fellow authoritarians in Beijing and Tehran will be watching how the free world responds,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the Biden-Putin talks. “And President Biden has an opportunity to set the tone when he speaks with Putin.”

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