Despite the strong words, Russia responded positively to the outcome of phone consultations between President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden. A senior adviser to the Russian president described the 50-minute conversation as “positive, constructive and frank” and a good basis for further consultations.
Tensions escalated between Washington and Moscow due to the reinforcement of Russian forces on the borders of Eastern Eastern Europe. Biden warned Putin again that an invasion of that country would not be without consequences. Putin, in turn, is said to have stressed that severe sanctions would lead to a split with the West.
Despite these strong words, the Russian leader was satisfied with the conversation, according to Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov. This happened in the run-up to several rounds of summit consultations. Representatives of the United States and Russia will meet in Geneva in early January. A few days later, consultations between Russia and NATO ensued.
Positive votes from the Kremlin ahead of the start of the security talks are seen as an encouraging sign. Russia has already made clear what it hopes to achieve. The Kremlin wants strict security guarantees from Western countries. This should include a commitment that NATO will not expand eastward.
Biden and Putin agreed to personally intervene in the negotiations. They also keep in constant contact with each other.
In two ways
One insider said Biden conveyed the message that the current situation could end in two ways: through diplomatic talks or with dire consequences. In the latter case, according to the US official, it is likely that a massive deployment of NATO forces and the imposition of economic sanctions will be chosen.
Russian Chancellor Ushakov said it would be a “fatal mistake” to impose sanctions on his country. There could be ramifications for talks on arms control, cyber security, climate change and other issues the United States wants to discuss with Russia.
Biden will call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday. He said on Twitter that he was looking forward to the conversation. He wants to talk to Biden about what can be done to protect “the peace in Ukraine and the security of Europe.”
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