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POTUS and Putin Plan Video Chat Amid Rising Ukraine Tensions

POTUS and Putin Plan Video Chat Amid Rising Ukraine Tensions

The White House and Kremlin have announced that President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call on Tuesday. Tensions between the United States and Russia have been escalating over Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border that’s seen as a sign of a potential invasion by the President’s security advisors.

President Biden will raise American concerns about Russian military activities on the border and “reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Saturday, confirming the planned call after the first report came from Moscow.

Photo by STEPHANIE LECOCQ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

 

Putin is said to have concerns of his own that he intends to express, including Russia’s opposition to any move to admit Ukraine into the NATO military alliance. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “the presidents will decide themselves” how long their talk will last.

Russia is more adamant than ever that the U.S. must guarantee that Ukraine will not be admitted to the NATO military alliance. But NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said this past week that Russia has no say in expansion plans by other countries or the alliance. Numerous former U.S. and NATO diplomats say any such Russian demand to President Biden would be “a nonstarter”.

U.S. intelligence officials, meanwhile, have determined that Russia has massed about 70,000 troops near its border with Ukraine and has begun planning for a possible invasion as soon as early next year, according to a Biden administration official who was not authorized to discuss that finding publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The Kremlin said Friday that Putin, during his call with President Biden, would seek binding guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine. Biden tried to head off the demand in comments to reporters Friday before leaving for a weekend stay at Camp David.

“I don’t accept anyone’s red line,” President Biden said.

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