Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutine will speak on the phone Thursday “to discuss various subjects, including the next diplomatic contacts with Russia”, announced Wednesday a spokesperson of the White House in charge of the questions of security. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov then confirmed the exchange would take place, adding that it would take place “late in the evening” at Moscow time.
Joe Biden, who will meet with Vladimir Putin from his stronghold in Delaware, will be ready to take “a diplomatic route” but the United States, which remains “deeply concerned” about the presence of Russian troops on the border with the United States. Ukraine will also be “prepared to respond” in the event of an invasion, according to a White House official. Washington “would like to see the troops return to their usual training areas,” said this source.
“United States’ unwavering support for the independence of Ukraine”
This call will come two weeks before negotiations between the two countries scheduled for January 10 in Geneva on nuclear arms control treaties and the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, where the West accuse Moscow of massing troops in order to ‘a possible attack.
Joe Biden continues to consult “his allies and partners” on this subject, said the spokesperson for the National Security Council, Emily Horne.
Ahead of Thursday’s appeal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday.
The head of American diplomacy “reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of the military strengthening of Russia,” said his spokesman Ned Price .
Blinken and Zelensky discussed efforts to “peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic contacts with Russia,” he added.
Also mentioning “diplomatic efforts to achieve peace”, Volodymyr Zelensky told him in a tweet that he had received the assurance of “full American support” to “counter a Russian attack”.
Moscow excludes any “concession”
This is the second telephone interview between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in less than a month. At the beginning of December, the American president threatened his counterpart with sanctions “as he has never seen before” in the event of an attack on Ukraine.
Moscow, which claims to act only in response to what it describes as Western hostility, recently presented two draft treaties aimed at preventing any NATO expansion, including Ukraine, and ending Western military activities near Russian borders.
Sign that the discussions of January 10 will be bitter, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov has already ruled out any “concession”. The United States had previously warned that some Russian requests were “unacceptable”.
These bilateral talks should be followed on January 12 by a meeting between Russia and NATO.