Biden to speak to Putin on Thursday as Russia builds up military presence on Ukraine border

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  • President Joe Biden will speak on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
  • The call, the second known discussion between the two leaders this month, has Washington and European allies warning Moscow that attacking its former Soviet neighbor would trigger an economic and political backlash.
  • Russia has increased its military presence along the border with Ukraine.

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden plans to speak on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday amid a dangerous Russian military build-up on his shared border with Ukraine.

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The call, the second known discussion between the two leaders this month, has Washington and European allies warning Moscow that attacking its former Soviet neighbor would trigger an economic and political backlash.

A senior Biden administration official, who did not wish to share further details, said on condition of anonymity, “We are ready for diplomacy and for a diplomatic route, but we are also ready to respond if Russia takes a more on Ukraine.” attacks.” of the call, said on Wednesday.

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Referring to Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, the official said, “We have coordinated with our allies to impose more severe sanctions on the Russian economy and financial system than those imposed in 2014.”

Next month, US and Russian officials will hold security talks focusing on arms control agreements, NATO and Russian military activities and rising tensions over Ukraine. The January 10 meeting will be held as part of the Strategic Security Dialogue announced by Biden and Putin during their June summit in Geneva.

For months, Ukraine has warned US and European allies that thousands of Russian troops are gathering on its eastern border. The buildup to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, sparked an international uproar and triggered a series of sanctions on Moscow.

The Kremlin has previously denied that it was preparing to invade Ukraine and defended a significant military deployment. The Kremlin has also alleged that NATO has increased tensions on Russia’s borders and accused the 30-member coalition of building troops in states adjacent to Russia.

The Kremlin has rejected suggestions that Moscow is preparing to attack Ukraine. Nevertheless, Putin told Biden during a call on December 7 that NATO should reject Ukraine’s bid for membership in exchange for assurances that Russian forces would not strike.

Biden did not acknowledge Putin’s “red lines” on Ukraine during his two-hour video call. Since 2002, Ukraine has sought entry into the coalition, where an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all of them. Russia has defended its right to deploy troops to its territory.

The Biden administration is “seriously concerned about the nature of the Russian real presence and their capabilities,” the official said on Wednesday, which “are not entirely stable from our point of view”.

“We would like to see a reduction in that buildup and a return of forces to their regular training areas,” the person said.

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