New telephone exchange between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin to get out of the Ukrainian crisis

A high-stakes phone call. US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met for the second time this month on Thursday, December 30, amid heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow over the massive deployment of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine.

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The exchange between the two presidents lasted about fifty minutes, according to the White House. On the American side, Joe Biden took part in it from Wilmington, his stronghold in Delaware, where he spends the end of year celebrations. The White House released a photo of the US leader, phone in hand, in a room with wood-paneled walls.

Its ambition is, according to the American executive, to propose a “Diplomatic channel” to avoid military escalation in Ukraine.

A few hours before the call, the second in less than a month, Vladimir Poutin said on his side “Convinced”, that a dialogue ” effective “ and “Based on mutual respect” was possible, recalling the summit in June in Geneva which brought together the two men. “Only the path of negotiations can resolve the abundance of the immediate problems that exist between us”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added later.

The United States “prepared to respond”

During their meeting, the second in less than a month, Mr. Biden was nevertheless reminded that the United States remains “Deeply worried” of the presence of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers on the border with Ukraine and that they will be “Prepared to respond” in the event of a military offensive, according to a White House official.

Moscow, with the approach of Russian-American talks on January 10 in Geneva, keeps repeating that the priority is the negotiation of two treaties redefining the balance and the security architecture of Europe.

For the Kremlin, Russia’s security means banning any expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and ending Western military activities near Russian borders, an area that Moscow considers relevant. of its area of ​​influence.

According to the Russians, these demands are the only ones capable of containing the escalation of tensions, with Russia seeing the support of the United States, NATO and the European Union for Ukraine as a direct threat to its security and his interests.

The United States, accused of leading certain international issues without too much regard for its allies, insists heavily on close coordination with the Europeans and the Ukrainians.

The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, also took care to meet Wednesday with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on the one hand, and his French, German and British counterparts, on the other. The Ukrainian president said he received the assurance of a “Full American support” for “Counter a Russian attack”.

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Threat of sanctions

During a previous telephone interview at the beginning of December between MM. Biden and Putin, the US president threatened his Russian counterpart with sanctions “As he has never seen” in the event of an attack on Ukraine. Westerners have so far ruled out a military response to a possible Russian invasion. And the Kremlin has brushed aside threats of sanctions.

Russia and its elite are already the subject of multiple economic reprisals because of the Ukrainian case and the repression in the country, but none of these measures have changed the Kremlin’s line.

Moscow also denies threatening Ukraine, of which Russia has yet annexed part of the territory, Crimea, in 2014, and says it must protect itself against the hostility of Westerners who support Kiev, especially in its conflict with separatists pro-Russian. The latter, despite Russian denials, are widely considered to be under the orders of the Kremlin.

A sign that the talks of January 10 in Geneva on Ukraine but also strategic stability will be bitter, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, has ruled out any « concession ». The United States had previously warned that some Russian requests were “Unacceptable”.

These discussions, led by the US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Riabkov, will be followed, on January 12, by a Russia-NATO meeting, then, on January 13, by a meeting. within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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The World with AFP

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New telephone exchange between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin to get out of the Ukrainian crisis