Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin’s video appeal generates threats and diplomacy over Ukraine’s troop-building

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“It would be a colossal mistake which would have serious consequences,” Ushakov said. He added that Putin told Biden that Russia will act like the United States if offensive weapons are deployed near U.S. borders.

Putin asked for the call, the second among the leaders this month, ahead of scheduled talks between senior U.S. and Russian officials scheduled for Jan. 10 in Geneva.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on December 31.Credit:PA

“President Biden reiterated that substantial progress in these dialogues can only occur in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Ushakov said the call created a “good backdrop” for future talks. They will also include a Russia-NATO session on January 12 and a larger conference including Moscow, Washington and other European countries scheduled for January 13.

Moscow has alarmed the West by massing tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine over the past two months, after its capture of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its support for separatists fighting in the east. from Ukraine.

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Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it pleases.

Moscow, concerned about what it says is Western rearmament of Ukraine, said it wants legally binding guarantees that NATO will not expand further east and that certain offensive weapons would not be deployed in Ukraine or other neighboring countries.

Draft Security Documents Moscow has submitted a request that NATO refuse membership to Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR and cancel its military deployments in central and eastern Europe.

The United States and its allies have refused to offer Russia the kind of guarantees on Ukraine Putin wants, citing NATO’s principle that membership is open to any eligible country. However, they agreed to hold talks with Russia to discuss its concerns.

US concerns have not abated in recent weeks, according to a senior official in the Biden administration, despite a report this weekend that Russia would withdraw around 10,000 troops from its border with Ukraine. Other officials said they saw little evidence that Russia is pulling out of the border.

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Moscow’s security proposal has raised the question of whether Putin is making unrealistic demands pending Western rejection that would give him a pretext to invade.

Biden and Putin, who met in Geneva in June to discuss a range of tensions in US-Russian relations, are not expected to participate in the January talks. They also spoke by video call on December 7, when, according to the White House, Biden warned Moscow that an invasion of Ukraine would result in sanctions and massive damage to the Russian economy. Russian officials have rejected threats of sanctions.


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