By AAMER MADHANI – Associated Press
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – President Joe Biden resumes his telephone diplomacy on the Constitution of Russian troops near its border with Ukraine, in coordination with the Ukrainian leader on a strategy of de-escalating a crisis which Moscow says could sever ties with Washington.
Biden’s scheduled call on Sunday with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy comes as the United States has made little progress in its efforts to persuade Russian Vladimir Putin to ease tensions.
Biden, who spoke with Putin for nearly an hour on Thursday, told reporters the next day he warned Putin his economy would pay a “heavy price” if Russia, which has massed some 100,000 troops by border, took further action against Ukraine. .
U.S. and Russian officials say deep differences remain over the search for a resolution.
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“I am not going to negotiate here in public, but we have made it clear that he cannot – I stress that he cannot – act on Ukraine,” Biden said on Friday.
Biden and Zelenskyy were due to discuss preparations for a series of upcoming diplomatic meetings to deal with the crisis, according to the White House. Zelenskyy tweeted that the presidents would use the call to “coordinate our measures in the interests of peace in Ukraine and security in Europe”.
Representatives of the United States and Russia are expected to meet January 9-10 in Geneva. Russia-NATO Council talks and a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will follow.
Biden said he told Putin it was important for the Russians to take action ahead of these meetings to alleviate the crisis. Putin’s foreign adviser, describing the presidents’ conversation last week, said Biden’s pursuit of sanctions “could lead to a complete breakdown of relations between our countries and Russian-Western relations will be seriously damaged.”
Kremlin officials also pointed out they want guarantees that any future NATO expansion must exclude Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR. The Russians demanded that the military alliance withdraw offensive weapons from countries in the region.
The White House and European allies have said Russian demands are unfounded. American intelligence the results indicate that Russia made preparations for a potential invasion in early 2022. But White House officials say it’s not clear whether Putin has already made the decision to go ahead with it. military action.
Still, Biden said he was still hopeful for the talks ahead. White House officials say they will consult closely with Western allies
“I still expect that if you negotiate you will improve, but we’ll see,” he said on Friday. “We will see.”
Putin’s past military forays loom large as Biden assesses his next steps.
In 2014, Russian troops entered the Black Sea Peninsula in Crimea and captured the territory of Ukraine. Russia’s annexation of Crimea was one of President Barack Obama’s darkest moments on the international stage.
US-Russian relations were severely damaged towards the end of President George W. Bush’s administration after Russia invaded neighboring Georgia in 2008, after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his troops to ‘enter the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday he feared Putin intended to invade Ukraine and that “nothing but a level of sanctions that Russia never has seen will not deter him “.
“Russia needs to understand that we are united in this area,” Schiff told “Face the Nation” on CBS. “I also think that a powerful deterrent is to understand that if they invade, it will bring (NATO) closer to Russia, not push it further.
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