The US President Joe Biden is set to hold talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the second time as tension builds up in Ukraine. They are slated to discuss the forthcoming talks on security between the two superpowers and also the situation in Europe, according to White House sources.
Russia has in recent weeks built up its forces along the border with Ukraine but has dismissed talks that they are planning an invasion. Vladimir Putin has asserted that the build-up along the Ukraine border is merely defense exercises, and said that Russian troops have the freedom to move freely within its borders.
Hours before he called up President Biden, Vladimir Putin said in a holiday message that he was confident that the two could work together based on mutual consideration and respect of national interests. Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said that Moscow was ready for conversation.
Americans have Informed Vladimir Putin Of Their Concerns At The Troops Build Up
A day earlier US officials expressed grave concerns over the Russian build-up along the Ukraine border but said that the President was ready to offer a diplomatic path.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s security head downplayed the buildup along the border and said it was no increase in the number of troops. He said that they were closely monitoring the developments along the border.
The Ukraine defense minister said that the Russian buildup of over 94,000 troops along the border could lead to a full-blown offensive by end-January.
America has spoken to European allies and called for a united response to the Ukraine issue. Ukraine has close ties with NATO, even though it is not a member.
Russia has asked for legal guarantees that NATO will not directly intervene in Ukraine or other neighboring countries. Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, said that it is for NATO and Ukraine to decide on Ukraine’s status vis-à-vis its membership.
Russian officials will meet the Americans in Geneva on January 10. President Biden was evasive when asked whether he would meet Vladimir Putin on that date. But the US President is not expected to attend the talks.