Biden, Putin end second call this month as Ukraine tensions simmer


WILMINGTON, Del./MOSCOW (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke for almost an hour on Thursday as rising tensions over Ukraine offered the backdrop for the leaders’ second dialog this month.

The call, which was requested by Putin, started at 3:35 p.m. Eastern time (2035 GMT) and ended 50 minutes later, in line with U.S. officers.

Both the White House and the Kremlin are anticipated to supply their summaries of the call quickly.

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

Russia denies planning to assault Ukraine and says it has the suitable to maneuver its troops by itself soil as it likes.

Biden and Putin had been anticipated to debate a variety of matters, together with not simply the tense state of affairs in Europe but in addition the slow-moving negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Moscow, anxious by what it says is the West’s re-arming of Ukraine, has stated it desires 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 nations.

The leader-level talks come forward of a Jan. 10 U.S.-Russia safety assembly, adopted by a Russia-NATO session on Jan. 12, and a broader convention together with Moscow, Washington and different European nations slated for Jan. 13.

U.S. considerations haven’t ebbed in latest weeks, in line with a senior Biden administration official, regardless of a report over the weekend that Russia can be pulling again about 10,000 troops from its border with Ukraine. Other officers stated they’ve seen little proof to help the concept that Russia is pulling again from the border.

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

The Biden administration has advised Russian officers that they’ll take swift financial motion in opposition to Russia and reinforce NATO within the case of an invasion.

But the U.S. president has been pushing direct diplomacy, together with one-on-ones with Putin, as another.

Putin has in contrast 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.

(Writing by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Mary Milliken and Daniel Wallis)

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