In Moscow, it was after midnight when Putin hung up the phone. The phone call is said to have taken place at the request of the Russian president. The White House and the Kremlin are expected to publish summaries of the conversation at a later date, which usually diverge widely.
new year message
In Putin’s New Year’s message to Biden, released by the Kremlin earlier today, the Russian president stressed that “their countries, which bear a special responsibility for international and regional stability, can and must work together to meet the many challenges of unity before humanity.”
With about 100,000 troops around the Ukrainian border, Moscow says Moscow is preparing for a possible incursion into the neighboring country, from which Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and is supporting the separatists in their war against the Ukrainian military.
However, Moscow hit the ball back and says that NATO, with its military presence in Eastern Europe, is on the Russian doorstep. Putin said last week that he was listening to his military advisers about possible “military-technical” measures, if diplomacy does not offer a way out.
After the two-hour phone call earlier this month, Biden promised negotiations with other NATO countries, where the Russians could voice their concerns about the military alliance.
A week later, Moscow presented a set of demands that would put an end to further NATO expansion, particularly in Ukraine, and reduce the military alliance’s presence in the member states of Central and Eastern Europe.
The White House has indicated that some of the proposals are negotiable, while others – for example, future NATO membership – cannot be subject to a Russian veto.
On January 10, on the first working day after the Christmas holiday in Russia, talks are scheduled to take place in Geneva between delegations headed by the Russian and US deputy foreign ministers.
Negotiations between Russia and NATO and with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the peace process in eastern Ukraine, will take place during the remainder of that week. A summit between the two presidents, such as the Geneva summit in June, is not yet on the agenda.
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