Biden, Putin to hold call as Ukraine-Russia tension smolders
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are set to discuss the Russian troop buildup near Ukraine during their second call in recent weeks amid little progress toward ending the smoldering crisis. Ahead of Thursday's call, the White House indicated that Biden would make clear to Putin that a diplomatic path remains open even as the Russians have moved an estimated 100,000 troops toward Ukraine and Putin has stepped up his demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe.
President Joe Biden told Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky the U.S. would "respond decisively" if Russia "further invades" the European country.
The two presidents spoke on Sunday just days after President Biden spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for a second time in a month amid tensions along Ukraine's border.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. and its allies would "act decisively" if Russia invaded its neighbor.
Putin tells Biden new sanctions could rupture ties
The US and Russian presidents spoke by phone for almost an hour amid rising tensions over Ukraine.In a phone call late on Thursday, the Russian president said such sanctions would be a "colossal mistake".
In the statement, Psaki said: "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
"President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.
"The leaders expressed support for diplomatic efforts, starting next week with the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"President Biden underscored the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to the principle of 'nothing about you without you.' He reaffirmed the United States' commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
US and Russia face deep differences ahead of Ukraine talks
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — After tough talk between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin over the Russian troop buildup on the Ukraine border, both sides insist they are hopeful that a pathway to easing tensions could open during diplomatic talks set for January. But with less than two weeks to go before senior U.S. and Russian officials are to meet in Geneva, the chasm is deep and the prospect of finding an exit to the crisis faces no shortage of complications. Biden on Friday told reporters that he advised Putin when they spoke by phone a day earlier that the upcoming talks could only work if the Russian leader “deescalated, not escalated, the situation” in the days ahead.
"He also expressed support for confidence-building measures to de-escalate tensions in Donbas and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format."
President Zelensky said about the conversation in a January 2 Twitter post: "The first international talk of the year with @POTUS [President of the United States] proves the special nature of our relations.
"Joint actions of [Ukraine], [U.S.] and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization were discussed. We appreciate the unwavering support of [Ukraine]."
The first international talk of the year with @POTUS proves the special nature of our relations. Joint actions of ????????, ???????? and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization were discussed. We appreciate the unwavering support of ????????.
Joe Biden assures Ukraine that the United States "will respond energetically" to a Russian invasion
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 2, 2022
The statements come after Russia deployed some 100,000 of its troops along its border with Ukraine, although the country's defense officials believe the number could be as high as 120,000, according to CNN.
President Biden warned Russia will have a "heavy price to pay" if Moscow orders an invasion of Ukraine and said the U.S. is prepared to issue severe sanctions in response to an attack.
In addition to the U.S., the European Union and NATO have issued warnings to Russia and have called for a de-escalation of tensions along Ukraine's border.
Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin has warned Washington D.C. that introducing new sanctions would be a "colossal mistake," according to The BBC.
President Biden's response to the tense situation has been criticized by Republicans, who have claimed it does little to protect Ukraine.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) said in a December 8 tweet: "President Obama gave Ukraine blankets.
"President Trump gave Ukraine tank-busting Javelin missiles. President Biden waved at the camera."
"Intelligence Matters" host Michael Morell on top global threats in 2022
Morell offers his analysis of two top global threats: Russia's military aggression toward Ukraine and Iran's nuclear ambitions.Download, rate and subscribe here: iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.
President Obama gave Ukraine blankets.
President Trump gave Ukraine tank-busting Javelin missiles.
President Biden waved at the camera.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 8, 2021
Tensions have remained high in Eastern Europe since Russia forcibly annexed the Russian-speaking majority region of Crimea in 2014, in a move that was condemned by Western leaders.
Following the forcible annexation, separatists in the Russian-speaking majority Donbas region have staged an armed conflict with Ukraine, and have been supported by Moscow.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in thousands of civilian and military deaths and has been one of the many issues that have led to a cooling of relations between Moscow and the West.
Adam Schiff Says Russian Invasion of Ukraine 'Very Likely,' Calls for 'Enormous' Sanctions
President Biden Says Russia Will Have 'A Heavy Price to Pay' if It Invades Ukraine
Russia Warns U.S. It Will 'Eliminate Unacceptable Threats' after Putin-Biden Talks
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Talks with Russia must prioritize Nord Stream 2 to deter Putin, Ukraine's Naftogaz CEO says .
The CEO of Ukrainian state energy giant Naftogaz says it is absurd for Nord Stream 2 not to be among the top priorities of international talks with the Kremlin.His comments come shortly after a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday. It was the second high-level meeting this week between Western officials and Russia after high-profile talks between the U.S. and Kremlin officials on Monday. A further meeting is taking place at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna Thursday.