Biden and Putin set to talk about Ukraine in video call on Tuesday

US-Russia Summit in Geneva
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the US-Russia summit meeting at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / Pool

December 4, 2021

By Steve Holland and Tom Balmforth

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a phone call on Tuesday, with the two leaders set to discuss the tense situation in Ukraine.

“Biden will highlight the United States’ concerns with Russia’s military activities on the border with Ukraine and reaffirm America’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the United States,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. territory of Ukraine”.

She said other topics would include “strategic stability, cyber and regional issues.”

The two sides will also talk about bilateral relations and the implementation of agreements reached at the Geneva summit in June, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters: “The real conversation will take place on Tuesday. Bilateral relations, of course Ukraine and the realization of the agreements reached in Geneva are the main (items) on the agenda.

The exact time of the call was not disclosed.

More than 94,000 Russian troops are believed to be concentrated near the Ukrainian border. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Friday said Moscow may be planning a large-scale military offensive by the end of January, citing intelligence reports. US officials have reached similar conclusions.

Biden, meanwhile, has rejected Russian demands for security guarantees in the region.

“My expectation is that we’re going to have a long discussion with Putin,” Biden told reporters Friday as he departed for a weekend trip to Camp David. “I don’t accept anyone’s red line,” he said.

The US president said he and his advisers are preparing a comprehensive set of initiatives to prevent a Putin invasion. He did not give further details, but the administration has discussed working with European allies to impose more sanctions on Russia.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said separately that Washington was committed to ensuring that Ukraine had what it needed to defend its territory.

Austin added that there is plenty of space for diplomacy and leadership to work on Ukraine.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of pursuing a military build-up of its own. It has dismissed puzzling suggestions that it is preparing an attack on its southern neighbour, and has defended its right to deploy troops on its territory as it sees fit.

US officials say they do not yet know what Putin’s intentions are, including whether Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine.

U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated over the years, especially with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its 2015 interference in Syria, and allegations of US intelligence interference in the 2016 election that The current president is former President Donald Trump won.

But they have become more volatile in recent months.

The Biden administration has asked Moscow to crack down on ransomware attacks and cybercrime originating from Russian soil, and in November charged a Ukrainian citizen and a Russian in one of the worst ransomware attacks. at worst against American targets.

Russia has repeatedly denied carrying out or condoning cyberattacks.

The two leaders have had a face-to-face meeting since Biden took office in January, sitting down for talks in Geneva in June. They last spoke by phone on July 9. Biden enjoys face-to-face talks with world leaders, seeing it as a way to relieve tension.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm earlier this week that the United States and its European allies would impose “severe costs and consequences on Russia if it takes action.” further aggression towards Ukraine.”

(Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman) Biden and Putin set to talk about Ukraine in video call on Tuesday


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