US and Russia to proceed talking on Ukraine conflict, Kremlin says

12:39, 08 December 2021
US and Russia to proceed talking on Ukraine conflict, Kremlin says Photo:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden on Tuesday held talks regarding a wide range of issues including cybersecurity, strategic stability, Iran and mostly dedicated to the Ukrainian issue.

The conversation started at 10:07 US Eastert time (18:07 Moscow time) and was lasting “in a sincere and business-like atmosphere,” Kremlin said in a statement. 

During the video call, the US President voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine, the White House said.

He also "made it clear" and repeated that America and its allies "would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation." 

"President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy. The two presidents tasked their teams to follow up, and the U.S. will do so in close coordination with allies and partners," Biden's administration said in a statement.

Moscow said it hadn’t expected any significant progress before Tuesday's conference between Biden and Putin started.

“The intra-Ukrainian crisis and the lack of progress in implementing the 2015 Minsk agreements, which have no alternative for bringing about a peaceful resolution, topped the conversation’s agenda. The President of Russia shared specific examples to illustrate the destructive nature of Kiev’s policy to dismantle the Minsk Package of Measures and the agreements reached within the Normandy format. He also expressed serious concern about Kiev’s provocative actions against Donbass,” Kremlin statement says.

According to Moscow’s official statement following the negotiations, “Biden, in turn, focused on what he described as ‘threatening’ movements of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border and outlined the sanctions the United States and its allies would be ready to impose should the situation escalate any further.”

“In response, Vladimir Putin warned against shifting the responsibility on Russia, since it was NATO that was undertaking dangerous attempts to gain a foothold on Ukrainian territory, and building up its military capabilities along the Russian border.”

Putin said during the discussion that it is NATO who attempts to “conquer” Ukraine by forming its military build-up on the Ukrainian part of territory bordering with Russia.

“Therefore, Russia is seriously interested in obtaining reliable, legally fixed guarantees that rule out NATO expansion eastward and the deployment of offensive strike weapons systems in states adjacent to Russia,” the Kremlin said.

Following the online conference which lasted slightly over two hours both Presidents came up with the decision that the US and Russia should proceed talking on that matter as the leaders tasked their colleagues to follow-up.

“It’s hard to expect any sudden breakthroughs, but the Presidents demonstrated their willingness to continue practical work and begin discussing sensitive issues that seriously concern Moscow,” Kremlin aide for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov said after the online summit.

After the talks between the two leaders, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Washington has already prepared sanctions against the Russian Federation and they will set up if Russia attacks Ukraine.

“Things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now,” Sullivan referred to the event of Crimea joining Russia back in 2014.

The measures include economic sanctions along with NATO’s assistance in troop deployment to its allied countries in the region and defense supply for Ukraine. Sullivan hasn’t gone into details of what specific measures might be imposed, but he underlined that the US has “leverage” to the not yet functioning Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.

“If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine,” Jake Sullivan said.

Earlier, the US said that the sanctions towards Russia would be aimed at largest Russian banks affecting the ruble change into other currencies.

On Monday, Biden held talks with the European major nations leaders to discuss the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and to identify penalties which can be imposed on the Russian Federation. Biden consulted with UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

Russia in turn denied all the claims that it intends to invade Ukraine and emphasized that the military gathered near the frontier are pursuing only defensive purposes.