Biden and Putin will have a phone call TOMORROW: Russian leader demands Joe speak to him directly to discuss troop build up in Ukraine and diplomatic tensions
- Biden and Putin to talk by telephone Thursday at request of Russian president
- Russia has deployed about 100,000 troops close to the border with Ukraine
- Putin says he wants guarantees that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO
The two leaders with hold a phone call ‘to discuss a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia,’ said National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne.
The call, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, will be the second direct contact between Biden and Putin this month as the U.S. looks to pressure Russia to draw down its military threat to Ukraine.
The conversation was requested by the Russian leader, according to a senior administration official.
Biden accepted because ‘he has always believed that there is no substitute for direct leader to leader dialogue and engagement, and that is especially true when it comes to Russia and to his engagement with President Putin,’ the official added.
Russia has accused the West of provocations by admitting former Soviet states to NATO, and has massed an estimated 100,000 troops on the border.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Joe Biden will hold a telephone call on Thursday afternoon amid increased tensions over Ukraine
An image released by the White House showed President Biden in the Situation Room as he spoke to Putin by videolink earlier this month
Ukrainian reservists take part in military exercises near Kiev on December 18, as the country prepares for a possible Russian invasion that could come as soon as next month
Ukrainian officials say they fear an invasion could come in the new year.
Putin raised the stakes on Sunday by saying he would consider a range of options if the West failed to provide security guarantees.
Horne added that Biden has spoken with leaders across Europe.
‘The Biden administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia’s military build-up on the border with Ukraine,’ she said in a statement.
The talks are expected to preview security talks due to take place of January 10, when the two sides will discuss arms control and Ukraine.
It comes as a senior Russian diplomat accused the U.S. of starting a new Cold War.
Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky told reporters the West had betrayed the trust shown to it by Russia after the end of the Soviet Union.
‘We have started to be perceived as a threat by the West, by the United States,’ he said, according to the state news agency TASS.
‘What we’re having now we have is kind of a remake of the Cold War, Cold War 2.0.’
America has been warning for weeks that Putin appears to be readying tens of thousands of troops, tanks and artillery pieces to invade Ukraine, but the Kremlin has insisted it is merely a defence force – until now (pictured, Russian forces currently massed in border regions)
Further raising the stakes, it emerged at the same time that Russia has deployed into service a new top-secret ‘star wars’ missile that is designed to shoot down nukes and satellites.
The S-550 missile defence system ‘has entered combat duty’, according to defence sources who spoke to TASS on Wednesday.
While little is known about the missile, it is thought to be Russia’s latest foray into the space arms race – designed to take out targets hundreds of miles above earth such as low-orbit satellites, nuclear warheads, and orbital hypersonic weapons.
Moscow is thought to have carried out a test of this weapon system last month when it blew up one of its own defunct spy satellites in a move that enraged Washington and ramped up tensions with NATO.