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President Biden to Hold a Call with Russia’s President Putin

Amid high tension in Ukraine, Presidents Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin have decided to speak on the telephone on Thursday to further discuss the situation and measures to settle the situation. In less than a month, this will be the second telephone call between the two leaders. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Emily Horne stated “The Biden administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia’s military build-up on the border with Ukraine.” 

Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, according to Western officials who fear a repeat of 2014 when Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula and a pro-Russia uprising broke out in eastern Ukraine. In a potential step to defuse the tensions senior US and Russian officials have planned to meet on January 10 in Geneva. The meeting comes after Russia offered proposals to the United States that included calls not to expand NATO eastward or to set up bases in former Soviet republics. The United States has called some of the Russian positions non-starters but said it is willing to talk and will also address its concerns.

Moscow earlier this month submitted a draft of security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe. The U.S. and its allies have refused to offer Russia the kind of guarantees on Ukraine that President Putin wants, citing NATO’s principle that membership is open to any qualifying country. But they have agreed to hold talks with Russia to discuss its concerns. Moscow and NATO representatives are expected to meet shortly after the upcoming Geneva talks as are Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which includes the United States.