Given the ongoing tensions over Ukraine, US President Joe Biden plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Thursday. The White House National Security Council announced, Wednesday. She added that it was a matter of preparing for consultations at the diplomatic level.
Perhaps that means a meeting planned for January 10 in Geneva on the conflict in Ukraine, which has been simmering for weeks, and NATO security guarantees demanded by Moscow. The Moscow Kremlin confirmed the planned phone call. Interfax spokesman Dmitry Pesko said the conversation was scheduled for late evening. The exact time was not initially announced either in Washington or in Moscow.
The White House said the US government is in close contact with European allies and partners to coordinate a response to Russia’s increased military presence on the border with Ukraine. The National Security Council has continued to explain that Biden has already spoken to colleagues in Europe about this in person. It has previously criticized Brussels for the need for the European Union to participate in the talks planned in Geneva. “We do not want and must not be a non-participating audience whose heads will be set,” EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said from Welt on Wednesday.
Biden and Putin spoke in a two-hour video conference at the beginning of December. As heads of state, the two first met face to face in Geneva in June.
The United States has accused Russia of massive deployment of its forces near 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 moving more soldiers to the line in the breakaway regions. The developments brought back bad memories of 2014. At that time, Russia had annexed Crimea and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, which continues to this day.
Last week, Putin agreed to a diplomatic solution, but at the same time demanded security guarantees. This included ending NATO’s eastward expansion, and with it ceding NATO membership to Ukraine.
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