Telephone call about conflict in Ukraine: Biden calls on Putin to de-escalate

Telephone call about conflict in Ukraine
Biden calls on Putin to de-escalate

At the request of the Kremlin, Biden and Putin talked about the simmering conflict in Ukraine for almost an hour. The Russian President is “satisfied” after the phone call. The conclusion from Washington sounds a bit more cautious.

US President Joe Biden once again warned the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin urgently against an invasion of Ukraine. The United States and its allies would respond “resolutely” in the event of an invasion, Biden told Putin on Thursday, according to the White House. Russia must “de-escalate” tensions with Ukraine.

Putin, in turn, warned Biden against imposing severe sanctions on Russia, according to the Kremlin. This would be a “colossal mistake,” said Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov after the 50-minute phone call. “We hope that doesn’t happen.” The USA and other western states have threatened Russia with massive sanctions in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.

During the phone call, Biden and Putin also talked about the talks planned for January between representatives of the two countries about the security guarantees demanded by the West by Moscow. Putin adviser Ushakov said that the meeting should produce “results.”

According to his spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Biden made clear his support for the diplomatic efforts. “President Biden reiterated that significant progress in these dialogues can only be made in an environment of de-escalation, not escalation,” said Psaki. While Putin, according to Ushakov, was “satisfied” with the phone call, a US government official said the conversation was “serious and significant”.

Russia is demanding security guarantees from the West

The second phone call between the two heads of state within a month comes against the background of the tensions surrounding the massive Russian troop deployment on the border with Ukraine. The West fears that Russia could attack the neighboring country. The government in Moscow denies any plans to attack, rejects criticism of the troop movements and, for its part, accuses Kiev and NATO of “provocations”.

Biden and Putin met in Geneva in June and last had a video call on December 7th. During the video call, Biden had threatened the Russian President with sanctions in the event of an attack on Ukraine, “as he has never seen them before”.

Intensive diplomatic efforts are now under way. Representatives of the USA and Russia plan to meet in Geneva on January 10th to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. Talks between Russia and NATO are planned two days later. Consultations between Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are to follow on January 13.

Russia is demanding security guarantees from the West and has submitted drafts for two agreements with the USA and NATO, which are intended to prohibit the eastward expansion of the military alliance and the establishment of US military bases in states of the former Soviet sphere of influence. The far-reaching demands were rejected by several NATO members.

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