The Russian and US presidents focused on Ukraine and Moscow’s proposals for security guarantees in Europe
Thursday’s 50-minute call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden touched on security issues that are expected to be discussed at length next month in a series of high-level diplomatic meetings.
Here are the key points the two leaders discussed:
Biden signals that compromise with Russia over Ukraine is possible
The US President reportedly indicated that the Washington was not planning to deploy “offensive strike weapons in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said after the call. top Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov said obtaining a verbal pledge had been “one of the key points” for Moscow, as far as the proposals Russia had made to the West about its security were concerned. The White House appeared to pour cold water on the claim of any promise having been made, however, stating that Biden had made “no declaration as to intentions” during the conversation.
Biden reveals what US will do if Russia ‘invades Ukraine’
Biden “made clear” that the US and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia moved to invade Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, following the call. If Russia chose to “proceed with a further invasion of Ukraine,” it would face “serious” consequences, including “economic costs,” “adjustments and augmentations of [NATO’s] force posture in Allied countries,” and “additional assistance to Ukraine,” a unnamed senior US official warned. The US and its partners have accused the Kremlin of fomenting tensions at the border with its neighbor, citing an alleged Russian military build-up. Moscow has consistently denied speculations that it is planning an invasion.
Putin outlines Russia’s response to potential US sanctions
Responding to a threat of wide-ranging penalties should there be moves against Ukraine, Putin noted that the imposition of further punitive measures would deal a deadly blow to US-Russia relations. “Unprecedented sanctions” targeting Russia’s economy, and financial and military industry, if imposed, would lead to a “complete breakdown” of bilateral ties, Ushakov said, and such a scenario would be “a colossal mistake.”
Format for Russia’s new-year talks with West revealed
The call was designed to set what the White House called the “tone and tenor” for a series of diplomatic meetings scheduled to take place in the first half of January. The exchanges will be conducted in three formats: a Russia-US meeting to be held on January 9 and 10 in Geneva, followed by another in Brussels between Russia and NATO on January 12, and a final encounter on January 13 at the level of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Putin sets out end-goal of talks with US and NATO
In his call with Biden, Putin had also laid out the security guarantees Moscow has requested of the US and NATO, the Kremlin stated. The Russian president had stressed that, while the mere fact of their negotiating was important, he expected concrete results from their meetings. Moscow’s ultimate goal was to obtain the necessary guarantees regarding its security, Putin told Biden, according to Ushakov. The US president appeared to take the demand “quite seriously,” the adviser said.