President Biden confirmed the difference in positions by demanding security guarantees, including the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border area, and Putin’s request for security guarantees including a NATO ban on eastward movement. Nevertheless, the talks between the two leaders are expected to provide momentum for easing the situation in Ukraine, which is facing the threat of a Russian invasion.
This phone call, which was made at the request of President Putin, is the first in 23 days since the video summit held on December 7 last year. According to the White House, President Biden has urged Putin to ease military tensions along the Ukrainian border by withdrawing troops.
“If Russia invades Ukraine further, the United States will respond strongly along with its allies,” he said. In addition to sanctions such as Russia’s withdrawal from the international payment network and export restrictions, it also hinted at military cards such as NATO reinforcements and support for Ukraine’s military supplies. In addition, the US is putting pressure on Russia in the form of continuously delaying the approval of the operation of ‘Nordstream 2’, a gas pipeline that connects Russia directly to Germany.
In particular, President Biden supported a diplomatic solution through the US-Russian strategic stability dialogue on January 10, NATO-Russia talks to be held in Brussels, Belgium on the 12th, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting including Ukraine on the 13th. has expressed However, he emphasized that Russia must take action to ease military tensions in order to make real progress in dialogue.
According to Russian sources, Putin has warned that US sanctions are a huge mistake and could even destroy bilateral relations. Putin is also calling for legal safeguards to prevent NATO from moving eastward, including joining Ukraine as a member and deploying missiles in Eastern Europe. In an interview with local media on the 31st, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “If there is no constructive answer (from the US and NATO) and the West continues its aggressive course, Russia will take all necessary steps to secure a strategic balance and eliminate threats to our security. We will take action,” he warned.
Although the two leaders failed to make a breakthrough in resolving the situation in Ukraine, they agreed to continue negotiations in the new year. A senior U.S. government official said, “The two leaders have identified areas where progress is possible and areas where agreement cannot be reached.” The Russian side also evaluated that the summit call was practical and specific.
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