Joe Biden, the President of the United States, pushed the Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a Thursday phone call (second in the month), to take crucial steps to ease ongoing tensions on the Russian border with Ukraine. Furthermore, Biden also warned his counterpart to slap dire economic sanctions on Russian if it proceeds with the invasion of Ukraine. The call continued for around fifty minutes, but it didn’t yield any breakthroughs on the issues. However, the conversation between both leaders established a smooth path for upcoming in-person diplomatic dialogs between them.
US President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Thursday phone call to take steps to ease an ongoing crisis on the Russian border with Ukraine, warning again of severe economic sanctions should Putin proceed with his aggression. pic.twitter.com/orbEBIjJfc
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) December 31, 2021
The phone call came after the request of Putin this week, and the U.S. President was eager to oblige. On 7th December, both heads of the states spoke for the first time this month in a videoconference call in which they vowed to resume diplomatic talks. But, on the other hand, Russia didn’t signal to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict. On Thursday, the Russian president once again offered little clues to his intentions after the call concluded.
Biden laid out two paths for his Russian counterpart as he continues to deploy troops on the Russian border with Ukraine: first, a diplomatic approach toward de-escalation, and the second one focused on prevention using economic sanctions, enhanced American troop presence on the eastern flank of NATO and additional assistance to Ukraine. The official said that the decision to choose the path depends on the future actions of Russia. But if Russia goes ahead with aggression, it will face severe costs and consequences.
Putin Warned that New Sanctions Could Shatter Ties with The U.S.
The Russian President warned Biden that imposing new economic sanctions over the Ukraine issue could rupture relations with the U.S. Further, he called sanctions a colossal mistake. In response, Biden told Putin that the United States and its allies would respond strictly to any aggression towards Ukraine. The call marked the latest move to ease the tensions over the Russian border with Ukraine. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia deployed over one hundred thousand troops at the border.
However, Russia denies the allegations about its plan to invade Ukraine and claims that the troops are there for regular military exercises. Officials also said that the country could freely move its forces on its own soil. The foreign policy adviser of Russia, Yuri Ushakov, told the press after the phone conversation between two leaders that the Russian President was happy with the telephonic talks.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden reiterated that adequate progress in these talks could occur only in a pleasant environment of de-escalation. She added that the president made clear that the U.S., NATO, and allies will respond firmly if Russia furthers goes ahead with aggressive behavior towards Ukraine.
January Geneva in-person Talks
Russian and American officials set for in-person dialogs in Geneva in the first month of 2022. The White House said that Biden pushed Putin to pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Previously, the Russian president told Biden in a holiday message before yesterday’s call that he is eager to collaborate with him on the terms of mutual respect and consideration of each other’s national interests.
Defense Minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, told parliament at the start of this month that Russia deployed tens of thousands of armed troops near the border and could be preparing for a military offensive at a larger scale at the January end. Instead, Russia argued that its deployment of troops at the border is a protective move against NATO military alliance. It wants officially mandatory guarantees that NATO forces will not expand further East and certain offensive weapons will not be deployed to Ukraine or any neighboring nations.
The history of the Russia and Ukraine conflict is not new. Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine in 2014. Afterward, it started to support a pro-independence insurgency in the East of Ukraine that saw around fourteen thousand individuals killed in sporadic fighting. As a result, Washington and the West warned Russia to expect severe economic consequences if troops cross into Ukraine again.
The Deputy Secretary of State Lead the U.S. Delegation to the January Talks
Several familiar sources told CNN that Wendy Sherman, the Deputy Secretary of State, will lead the United States delegation to the January in-person dialogs. Putin and Biden will not participate in the meetings personally. National Security Council and Pentagon officials will also attend the negotiations on the American side. In addition, the United States vowed to keep western European countries and Ukraine itself in the loop as the American president engages the Russian President diplomatically.