Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 spoke with President Biden for 50 minutes about the escalating crisis with Ukraine, saying that economic sanctions will be imposed on Russia if it takes military actions.
Economic measures against Russia could lead to a big mistake, leading to a complete breakdown in relations, the Kremlin answered back.
However, Mr. Putin’s intentions remained unclear after the call. In the last two months, he has dispatched 100,000 troops to Ukraine’s border and asked the NATO and the U.S. to remove their military from the region. Still, he appears to be undecided about launching a real attack.
The operation has concerned the West, with the US threatening with unprecedented penalties against Mr. Putin if Ukraine is attacked.
However, Russia denies it is planning to invade the country and says it is carrying out troops exercise and reassures it has the right to move its forces freely across its land.
Even though the two sides traded warnings during the call, Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters shortly afterward that Putin was satisfied. He went on to say that it established a “positive background” for future talks.
According to two US sources, Mr. Biden, for his part, declined. According to a brief White House statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, he “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”
Russia views the military border buildup as a deterrent to NATO, the Western military alliance. It seeks legally enforceable assurances that NATO would not expand eastward and that particular weaponry will not be supplied to Ukraine or its neighbors.
Ukraine was not invited to join NATO, despite its close links.
Russia-Ukraine tensions are nothing new. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and soon after began supporting a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, which has resulted in the deaths of about 14,000 people in recurrent clashes.
According to the White House, officials from the United States and Russia will meet in Geneva next month for face-to-face discussions, and Mr. Biden has urged his Russian colleague to pursue a diplomatic solution.