Biden, Putin to hold video call next week as tensions grow over Ukraine

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MOSCOW – President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call on Tuesday as a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border between the US and Russia is seen as a sign of a possible invasion.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the plans to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti on Saturday and said it would take place in the evening. Peskov said that “the president himself will decide” how long the talks will last.

The White House did not immediately comment on the announcement.

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Russia is more adamant than ever that the US guarantees that Ukraine will not be included in the NATO military alliance.

Meanwhile, US intelligence officials have determined that Russia has massed about 70,000 soldiers near its border with Ukraine and began planning a possible offensive early next year, according to a Biden administration official. According to, who was not authorized to discuss that finding publicly. and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The risk for Putin to undergo such an invasion would be enormous.

US officials and former US diplomats say that while the Russian president is clearly laying the groundwork for a possible invasion, Ukraine’s military is better armed and prepared today than ever before, and sanctions threatened by the West have stymied the Russian economy. will suffer serious damage.

“What I’m doing is putting together what I believe will be the most comprehensive and meaningful initiative for Mr Putin to pursue, very difficult and people are worried what he might do,” Biden said. Said on Friday.

Ukrainian officials have said Russia may launch an attack next month. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksey Reznikov said the number of Russian troops near Ukraine and in Russia-affiliated Crimea stood at 94,300, and warned that a “massive increase” was possible in January.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, recently alleged that a group of Russians and Ukrainians had planned to attempt a coup in his country and that the conspirators tried to enlist the help of Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov. .

Russia and Akhmetov have denied that there is a conspiracy, but Russia has recently become more clear in its warnings to Ukraine and the United States.

Biden is also scheduled to speak with Zelensky in the coming week, according to a person close to the Ukrainian leader. This person was not authorized to comment publicly before the call was announced and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin, during his call with Biden, would seek binding guarantees to halt NATO expansion in Ukraine. Biden tried to meet the demand in comments to reporters on Friday before leaving for a weekend stay at Camp David.

“I don’t accept anybody’s red line,” Biden said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the administration would coordinate with European allies if it went ahead with sanctions. He cited Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula, which had been under Ukraine’s control since 1954. Russia has also backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in a seven-year conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people.

“We know what President Putin has done in the past,” Saki said. “We see that he’s putting the ability to take action in short order.”

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US-Russia relations have been rocky since Biden took office.

His administration has imposed sanctions against Russian targets and called on Putin for Kremlin interference in US elections, cyber activity against US companies and its treatment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned last year and later imprisoned. had gone.

When Putin and Biden met in Geneva in June, Biden warned that if Russia crossed some red lines — including following major US infrastructure — his administration would respond and “its consequences would be disastrous.”



Credit: www.nbcnews.com /

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