Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Biden and Putin delay call due to heightened security requirements

REHOBOTH BEACH, DEL. – US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak on Thursday as the Russian leader tightened his demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe, while maintaining an alarming troop buildup near Russia’s border with Ukraine.

The two leaders will discuss “a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic meetings,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said in a statement announcing the call.

The talks are taking place at a time when the United States and Western allies are watching a troop of Russian troops along the border, which is estimated to have grown to 100,000, fueling fears that Moscow is preparing for a further invasion of Ukraine.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken “reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity in the face of a buildup of Russian military power on Ukraine’s borders.”

Price said they discussed efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic talks with Russia.

Earlier this week, Putin said he would ponder many options should the West fail to comply with his demands for security guarantees that would rule out NATO expansion into Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Moscow presented draft security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet states and scale back its military operations in Central and Eastern Europe.

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The United States and its allies have refused to provide Russia with the guarantees Putin wants for Ukraine, citing the NATO principle that membership is open to any eligible country. They agreed. however, hold talks with Russia next month to discuss its concerns.

The US and Russia are due to hold high-level talks on January 10. Representatives from Moscow and NATO are expected to meet in the same week, as well as from Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes the United States.

In Thursday’s call, which was requested by the Russians, Biden is expected to emphasize to Putin that the US is united with its allies but will demonstrate a willingness to engage in “principled diplomacy” with Russia, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters. about the upcoming call. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. The leaders of the two countries held a video call earlier this month.

The official added that the White House considers interaction between leaders as important as the administration is trying to find a way out of this “moment of crisis” due to growing fears of further Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In 2014, Russian troops entered the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and seized territory from Ukraine. Russia’s annexation of Crimea – one of the darkest moments for former President Barack Obama on the international stage – looms as Biden tries to contain the current smoldering crisis.

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan made it clear in public comments that the administration is willing to discuss Moscow’s concerns about NATO in talks with Russian officials, but stressed that Washington is committed to “nothing about you without you” in policy making. it affects the European allies.

“We approach the broader issue of diplomacy with Russia in the sense that … meaningful progress at the negotiating table will of course have to take place in the context of de-escalation, not escalation,” Sullivan said. at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this month. He added that “it is very difficult to see agreements reached if we continue to see the escalation cycle.”

The two leaders are also expected to discuss efforts to persuade Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was effectively canceled by the Trump administration, during Thursday’s appeal.

Despite disagreements over Ukraine and other issues, White House officials said Iran’s nuclear issue is one that they believe the US and Russia can cooperate on.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin will speak with Biden on Thursday, but did not provide details.

Nation World News Desk
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