US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the United States is ready for diplomacy, but also “to strike back” if Russia invades Ukraine, the White House said Wednesday.
“We are ready to provide further assistance to Ukraine to defend its territory and respond to a possible Russian occupation in the coming weeks,” a senior US administration official said in a conference call.
The White House also revealed that the phone call that will take place on Thursday between Biden and Putin to discuss the situation in Ukraine will take place at the express request of Moscow.
“The date for this call was set after the Russian side requested it,” the senior US official said.
A few minutes ago, US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne announced this call and indicated that Biden continues to hold talks and consultations with his allies to find a joint response to the increased Russian military presence on the Ukrainian border.
At the press conference, the White House said Biden would “make it clear” to Putin that the United States would always be on the side of its allies in the region — an apparent reference to Ukraine — and that it would not. Accept anything about friendly third countries without them..they participate in the talks.
Biden and Putin’s phone conversation occurred 23 days after their video conference, in which the US head of state warned that he would respond to a possible Russian attack on Ukraine with strong economic measures, which could include a “suspension” of Russian gas. pipeline, in addition to strengthening the defense on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
For his part, Putin insisted then, and in subsequent days, that it was NATO, not Russia, that was responsible for the current military tension around Ukraine.
Six days ago, the Russian president demanded, at his annual press conference, “immediate” security guarantees from the United States and NATO, warning them against a decades-old “draw” in the negotiations that will begin in early 2022 in Geneva.
Talks are taking place two weeks before negotiations between the two countries, scheduled for January 10 in Geneva, on nuclear arms limitation treaties and the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, with the West accusing Moscow of amassing forces for a possible attack. .
Indicating that the January 10 talks would be difficult, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already ruled out any “concessions”.
The United States, for its part, had already warned that some of the Russian requests were “unacceptable.”
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