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Before the Ukraine talks: Biden and Putin set their positions

Before the Ukraine talks: Biden and Putin set their positions

According to the White House, the call began as scheduled at 3:35 PM ET (9:35 PM CET) and lasted fifty minutes. She added that the details of the conversation should be announced at a later time. A high-ranking White House representative stated at the start of the conversation that Biden would use the phone call to campaign for a diplomatic solution, but also emphasized his willingness to take harsh punitive measures.

“We have coordinated with our allies to impose harsh sanctions on the Russian economy and financial system – far more than were implemented in 2014,” a US government representative said on Wednesday. At that time, Russia annexed Crimea and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Reference to coordinated plans

The representative of the United States warned in the event of a renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine, there are already plans to expand NATO’s presence in the member states of Eastern Europe and strengthen their capabilities. In addition, he said, they are ready “to provide Ukraine with further support to defend its territory and respond to a possible Russian occupation.”

“President Biden will make clear that there is a diplomatic path to de-escalation in the region if President Putin is interested in following that path,” the US official said.

Worry about the Russian invasion

The United States has accused Russia of deploying large numbers of troops close to the border with Ukraine for weeks. The West fears a Russian invasion of the former Soviet Republic. Russia rejects this and again accuses Ukraine of deploying additional soldiers to the region. The developments awakened bad memories of the Crimean conflict in 2014 and the annexation of the peninsula by Russia at that time.

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Putin: “Work constructively together”

Putin agreed last week to a diplomatic solution but asked for security guarantees. This included ending NATO’s eastward expansion, thus ceding NATO membership to Ukraine. On Thursday, Putin called for a constructive dialogue between the two countries. In a telegram published by the Kremlin for the New Year, Putin wrote that the two nuclear powers bear a special responsibility for international and regional stability despite numerous conflicts. Faced with many challenges and threats to humanity, Moscow and Washington must “work constructively together.”

Initial talks at the level of foreign ministers

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke for the first time with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selinsky on Wednesday, and later also in a circle with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Great Britain, the ministry said. Washington said it reassured its “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

At the beginning of December, Biden and Putin spoke to each other as part of a two-hour video link. As heads of state, the two first met face to face in Geneva in June.

January 10 meeting in Geneva

Among other things, the phone call should serve to prepare for the meeting scheduled for January 10 in Geneva, which will deal with the conflict in Ukraine and possibly also with the security guarantees that NATO has demanded from NATO.

“During the talks, we will demand legally sound guarantees from the US side for Russia’s security, according to which NATO will not advance east and weapons systems that threaten Russia will not be stationed near our borders,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria said. Sakharov on Thursday

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NATO plans to hold further talks with the Russian side on January 12. In addition, there will be a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on January 13.

The European Union is asking for space at the negotiating table

The White House said the US government is in close contact with European allies and partners about talks with Moscow. The US official said that the principle of not deciding anything about them without them would continue to operate. Before that, there was criticism in Brussels and a demand for the European Union to participate in the talks planned in Geneva.