Biden and Putin to speak on Thursday amid Ukraine tensions


WASHINGTON/REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak on Thursday, the White House stated, as Washington crafts a standard response to Russia’s army build-up on the Ukraine border with European allies.

The two leaders will focus on a spread of subjects, together with upcoming safety talks between the international locations and a tense state of affairs in Europe, White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne stated in an announcement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed Reuters the decision was deliberate for “late Thursday night,” with out elaborating.

Horne stated Biden had spoken with leaders throughout Europe in regards to the state of affairs on the Ukraine border, whereas Biden administration officers have been in contact with NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Moscow has alarmed the West by massing tens of hundreds of troops close to Ukraine prior to now two months, following its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and its backing of separatists combating Kyiv troops in japanese Ukraine.

Russia denies planning to assault Ukraine and says it has the fitting to transfer its troops on its personal soil because it likes.

Moscow, frightened by what it says is the West’s re-arming of Ukraine, has stated it needs legally-binding ensures NATO is not going to increase additional eastwards, and that sure offensive weapons is not going to be deployed to Ukraine or different neighboring international locations.

U.S. issues haven’t ebbed in current weeks, in accordance to a senior Biden administration official. Other U.S. officers stated that regardless of a report over the weekend that Russia can be pulling again about 10,000 troops from its border with Ukraine, they’d seen little proof to assist that to this point.

“We are at a second of disaster and have been for some weeks now given the Russian build-up, and it should take a excessive degree of engagement to deal with this and to discover a path of de-escalation,” stated one of many officers, who declined to be named.

That particular person stated Putin requested the decision with Biden.

“When President Biden has requested to speak with President Putin over the course of 2021, President Putin has stated, Yes, let’s discuss. And when President Putin says, I’m occupied with touching base and having a cellphone name, President Biden says sure.”

Biden is probably going to reiterate throughout the name that the United States will take swift financial motion towards Russia within the case of an invasion. They may also reinforce the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in such a case.

But the U.S. president has been pushing direct diplomacy instead.

The Biden administration has been in deep talks with Ukraine in addition to a number of NATO allies, together with these bordering Russia, in accordance to Horne, the White House spokesperson.

Biden will doubtless speak with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy quickly, one other official stated. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the Ukrainian chief on Wednesday and expressed “unwavering assist for Ukraine’s independence,” in accordance to a spokesperson.

JSTARS, a kind of U.S. army spy aircraft, operated in Ukrainian airspace for the primary time earlier this week, although various kinds of surveillance plane are widespread within the area, officers stated.

Biden on Tuesday stated “we’ll see” when requested if he would meet Putin on Jan. 10, the identical day U.S. and Russian officers are due to maintain safety talks. But Biden is just not anticipated to attend these talks or meet with Putin that day, an official stated.

Russia and NATO are additionally set to maintain talks on Jan. 12, with a broader assembly together with Moscow, Washington and different European international locations slated for Jan. 13.

Putin has in contrast to the present tensions to the Cold War-era Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Washington regards a few of his calls for, together with restrictions on NATO growth, as non-starters.

Conversations between Putin and Biden are doubtless to contact on different points, too, together with the continued talks with Iran over its nuclear program, a U.S. official stated.

(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow, Susan Heavey and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Alistair Bell)

Source link