Wilmington – Reuters, AFP
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their second phone talks on Thursday, the second this month, and are expected to focus on several issues, foremost of which is the escalating tension over Ukraine.
US officials said the call, which was requested by Putin, lasted 50 minutes. Officials confirmed that the two leaders discussed a range of topics, including security talks scheduled for next month and the tense situation in Europe.
For his part, Putin confirmed before the call that he was “convinced” of the possibility of establishing an “effective dialogue based on mutual respect and taking into account the national interests” of the two countries, recalling the summit that brought together the two presidents months ago in Geneva. He is the one who can solve the growing problems between us.”
Moscow has alarmed the West after massing tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine in the past two months, after seizing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supporting separatists fighting the government in eastern Ukraine.
Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its forces on its soil as it pleases.
Biden had threatened his Russian counterpart in a previous phone call earlier this month with sanctions “the like of which he had never seen before” in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. The Westerners have so far ruled out any military response to a Russian attack, while the Kremlin has shown no heed to threats to impose sanctions.
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