President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak Thursday as the Russian leader has stepped up his demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe while maintaining an unsettling buildup of troops near Russia’s border with Ukraine. U.S. and Western allies have been watching the massing of Russian forces along the border, growing to an estimated 100,000 and fueling fears that Moscow is preparing to further invade Ukraine.
The two leaders will discuss “a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement announcing the call, which will be a follow-up to a video chat the two world leaders had held earlier in the month.
In Thursday’s call, which was requested by the Russians, President Biden is expected to stress to Putin that the U.S. is united with its allies but will demonstrate a willingness to engage in “principled diplomacy” with Russia, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the upcoming call.
It's refreshing to see Biden getting in Putin's face since we know Trump preferred to work on the other end.
— @𝕊𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕒𝕖_𝔾𝕚𝕣𝕝 (@SundaeDivine) December 29, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken “reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders.”
NEWS President Biden will hold a call with Putin on Thursday afternoon, NSC tells CNN.
The call was requested by Putin, and Biden accepted because “he believes when it comes to Russia there is no substitute for direct leader-leader dialogue” admin official says.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 29, 2021
Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft 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 Putin wants, citing NATO’s principle that membership is open to any qualifying country. They agreed. however, to hold talks with Russia next month to discuss its concerns.
"The previous administration acted as a useful idiot to Pres. Putin… Instead, this is an administration of credibility, of the understanding of decades and decades of diplomacy and the power of diplomacy," says Rep. Madeleine Dean on the scheduled call between Biden and Putin. pic.twitter.com/pOlkVOoOOm
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) December 29, 2021
The U.S. and Russia are to hold high-level talks on January 10th. Moscow and NATO representatives are expected to meet that same week as well as Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which includes the United States.
I spoke with Foreign Ministers @JY_LeDrian, @ABaerbock, and @TrussLiz about our work to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine and concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. We stand united in our commitment to impose massive consequences and severe costs for further aggression.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 29, 2021