Putin-Biden Call: Key Points Discussed by US, Russian Presidents During Video Meeting
Tuesday's "secure" video call constitutes the second meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden since their June tete-a-tete in Geneva. The summer summit was a starting point for the two countries to begin talks in the fields of strategic stability, cybersecurity and other key issues.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden have finalised their "protracted and comprehensive" video call, having discussed pressing issues linked to both international affairs and the complicated relations between the US and Russia.
"[President of the United States] held a secure video call with President Putin of Russia today to discuss a range of topics in the U.S.-Russia relationship, including our concerns about Russian military activities on the border with Ukraine, cyber, and regional issues," White House said in a tweet shortly after the conversation wrapped up.
Despite the "negative" background behind the highly anticipated talks between the two Presidents, the video call was welcomed as necessary. Amid high expectations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged everyone to "keep a cool head".
The conversation revolved around such issues as tensions related to Ukraine amid claims of the purported "Russian invasion" in the neighbouring country, bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow (including understandings agreed in Geneva) and other things.
Situation in Ukraine
In the conversation, Biden voiced US' 'deep concerns over the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, the White House said shortly after the call ended.
Particularly, the US President "made clear" to Putin that America and its allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of a military escalation in Ukraine.
Besides, according to the White House, Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, calling for de-escalation and return to diplomacy.
“Our president informed [Biden] in sufficient detail about how Kiev fails to fulfill the relevant Minsk agreements. It was said directly that Ukraine sabotages the Minsk implementation, in addition, it sabotages the agreements reached within the framework of the Normandy Four summit, delays the negotiation process in the contact group, seeks to exclude Donbas from the negotiation process," Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told reporters following the leaders' talks.
Biden informed Putin that Washington is preparing large-scale sanctions in case of further escalation of the situation around Ukraine, the Kremlin added.
Over the past several weeks, western media outlets have been fuelling the "Russian invasion of Ukraine" narrative, with Bloomberg first reporting the purported "incursion" in mid-November.
Other outlets followed its lead. A handful of stories grew to the climax of German tabloid Bild offering a map that depicted the so-called "plan" by Putin to invade the neighbouring country. Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected the "plan" as nothing but "fantasies" of the German media outlet.
7 December 2021, 05:44 GMT
With the western countries voicing their concerns that Russia has been "amassing troops" close to the Ukrainian border over the month, the Kremlin argued that it was in fact the NATO alliance that caused concern in Moscow by moving its troops and military equipment in the region.
Kremlin said Biden told Putin about possible new sanctions over Ukraine in an acceptable form.
"Biden mentioned possible sanctions measures. What was said before publicly and communicated through various channels to us, has now been said, but in a fairly acceptable form that is worthy of the presidential level," Ushakov said.
In response to Biden's concerns over the allegedly "threatening" nature of Russian troops' movement near the border, Putin said that NATO was making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory and was building up its military potential at Russian borders. Moreover, the Russian president highlighted that Moscow was interested in obtaining reliable, legally fixed guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward and would not deploy offensive weapons in countries bordering Russia.
According to the White House, Biden made no concessions regarding whether or not to allow Ukraine entry into NATO during the call.
"I will tell you clearly and directly, [Biden] made no such commitments or concessions. He stands by the proposition that countries should be able to freely choose who they associate with," White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a press briefing.
The White House said that Biden and Putin discussed a set of other issues like strategic stability and ransomware.
The two presidents were also said to have discussed joint work on regional issues such as Iran.
Both Biden and Putin tasked their teams to follow up and continue communication, particularly in regard to the situation in Ukraine, with the White House noting that the US will do that in close coordination with its allies.
The White House earlier announced a press briefing to take place four hours after the Putin-Biden conversation. Besides, reports suggested that President Biden was expected to hold negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy after the video call with Putin.
"A personal meeting, of course, is the most productive type of diplomatic work and both presidents understand this. At the same time, such a format turned out to be useful as well. As for the future work of the presidents, they did not specifically agree on this," the Kremlin said.
Earlier there was an agreement between the Russian and US sides that "we will organize a video conference, and then we will think about further contacts, including the possibility of organizing a meeting of the presidents somewhere on neutral territory in the future."