- Name between the two leaders got here amid rising worries by US, Western allies about Russia’s menace
- Russian invasion of Ukraine additionally would jeopardize controversial pipeline between Russia, Germany: US
- The Russian chief additionally proposed to carry all mutual restrictions on diplomatic missions
Nose to nose for over two hours, President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin squared off in a safe video name Tuesday because the U.S. president put Moscow on discover that an invasion of Ukraine would carry sanctions and large hurt to the Russian economic system.
With tens of 1000’s of Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border, the extremely anticipated name between the 2 leaders got here amid rising worries by the U.S. and Western allies about Russia’s menace to its neighbor.
Putin, for his half, got here into the assembly in search of ensures from Biden that the NATO army alliance won’t ever broaden to incorporate Ukraine, which has lengthy sought membership. The Individuals and their NATO allies mentioned that request was a non-starter.
There seemed to be no rapid breakthroughs to ease tensions on the Ukraine query, because the U.S. emphasised a necessity for diplomacy and de-escalation, and issued stern threats to Russia on the results of an invasion.
Biden “advised President Putin straight that if Russia additional invades Ukraine, the US and our European allies would reply with sturdy financial measures,” U.S. Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned after the decision.
He added that Biden mentioned the U.S. would additionally “present further defensive materiel to the Ukrainians … and we might fortify our NATO allies on the japanese flank with further capabilities in response to such an escalation.”
That would embrace further deployments of U.S. troops to japanese European NATO allies, the adviser mentioned.
A high U.S. envoy, Victoria Nuland, mentioned a Russian invasion of Ukraine additionally would jeopardize a controversial pipeline between Russia and Germany. She advised the Senate International Relations Committee Tuesday that if Russia invaded, “our expectation is that the pipeline might be suspended.”
Putin’s overseas affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov dismissed the sanctions menace throughout a convention name with reporters.
“Whereas the U.S. president talked about attainable sanctions, our president emphasised what Russia wants,” Ushakov mentioned. “Sanctions aren’t one thing new, they’ve been in place for a very long time and won’t have any impact.”
He described the presidents’ video convention as “candid and businesslike,” including that additionally they exchanged occasional jokes.
In a quick snippet broadcast by Russia state tv, the 2 leaders provided pleasant greetings to one another.
“I welcome you, Mr. President,” Putin mentioned, talking with a Russian flag behind him and a video monitor displaying Biden in entrance of him. “Good to see you once more!” Biden replied with a chuckle. He famous Putin’s absence from the current Group of 20 summit in Rome – Putin took park by video hyperlink due to considerations about COVID-19 – and mentioned, “I hope subsequent time we meet to do it in particular person.”
On the White Home, Sullivan mentioned, “It was a helpful assembly,” permitting Biden to put out in candid phrases the place the US stands.
Because the U.S. and Russian presidents conferred, Ukraine grew solely extra anxious concerning the tens of 1000’s of Russia troops which were deployed close to its border. Ukrainian officers charged Russia had additional escalated the smoldering disaster by sending tanks and snipers to war-torn japanese Ukraine to “provoke return fireplace” and lay a pretext for a possible invasion.
U.S. intelligence officers haven’t been in a position to independently confirm that accusation, in response to an administration official who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate the delicate matter. However the official mentioned that the White Home has straight raised considerations with the Russians about “resorting to their previous playbook” by attempting to impress the Ukrainians.
The Kremlin, in a post-call readout, mentioned, “Putin emphasised that it’s fallacious to place the duty on Russia, since it’s NATO that has been making harmful makes an attempt to broaden its presence on the Ukrainian territory and has been increasing its army potential close to Russian borders.”
The Russian chief additionally proposed to carry all mutual restrictions on diplomatic missions and assist normalize different points of bilateral relations, the Kremlin mentioned. Sullivan mentioned the leaders would direct their staffs to proceed negotiations on that.
The leader-to-leader conversation- Biden talking from the White Home Scenario Room, Putin from his residence in Sochi- was one of the crucial essential of Biden’s presidency and got here at a deadly time. U.S. intelligence officers have decided that Russia has massed 70,000 troops close to the Ukraine border and has made preparations for a attainable invasion early subsequent yr.
Sullivan mentioned the U.S. believes that Putin has not but made a ultimate determination to invade.
Biden was vice chairman in 2014 when Russian troops marched into the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and annexed the territory from Ukraine. Aides say the Crimea episode- one of many darker moments for President Barack Obama on the worldwide stage- looms massive as Biden appears to be like on the smoldering present disaster.
Politically in Washington, Republicans are framing this second as a key check of Biden’s management on the worldwide stage. Biden vowed as a candidate to reassert American management after President Donald Trump’s emphasis on an “America first” overseas coverage. However Republicans say he’s been ineffective in slowing Iran’s march towards changing into a nuclear energy and has achieved too little to counter autocratic leaders together with China’s Xi Jinping and Putin.
“Fellow authoritarians in Beijing and Tehran might be watching how the free world responds,” Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell mentioned from the Senate ground earlier than the Biden-Putin assembly.
Sullivan mentioned Biden and Putin had a “good dialogue on the Iran subject” and referred to as it an space the place the 2 nations might cooperate.
“The extra Iran demonstrates a scarcity of seriousness on the negotiating desk,” the extra there might be a way of unity among the many U.S. and the events to the 2015 nuclear accord together with Russia and the European Union, he mentioned.
Trump, who confirmed uncommon deference to Putin throughout his presidency, mentioned in a press release that “Vladimir Putin appears to be like at our pathetic give up in Afghanistan, abandoning useless Troopers, Americans, and $85 billion price of Navy tools. He then appears to be like at Biden. He’s not anxious!”
Forward of the Putin name, Biden on Monday spoke with leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy to coordinate messaging and potential sanctions. He additionally to spoke with them once more following his name to transient them out the end result. Biden can be anticipated to talk with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday.
Putin apparently sees the present scenario as a second to readjust the ability dynamic of the U.S.-Russia relationship, analysts agree.
Past Ukraine, there are many different thorny points on the desk, together with cyberattacks and human rights. Earlier than the decision, Kremlin spokesman Peskov mentioned U.S.-Russian relations are total in “a quite dire state.”
“Russia has by no means deliberate to assault anybody,” Peskov mentioned. He characterised the Biden-Putin name as a “working dialog throughout a really tough interval,” when “escalation of tensions in Europe is off the dimensions, extraordinary.”