Biden, Putin to talk next week amid military buildup in Ukraine




  • In World
  • 2021-12-04 17:07:39Z
  • By The Hill
President Biden and Russian President Putin shake hands in Geneva
President Biden and Russian President Putin shake hands in Geneva  


President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will talk next week amid a Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the Tuesday video call to Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

A U.S. source and the Kremlin also told Reuters on Saturday of the impending call between the two world leaders amid tensions over a military buildup of at least 70,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine border.

Peskov said the call will last for however long Biden and Putin decide. The U.S. source said Ukraine and other issues will be addressed during the meeting.

The meeting comes after an intelligence document was seen by The Washington Post that indicated Russia could invade Ukraine early next year with 175,000 troops.

"The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia's snap exercise near Ukraine's borders," an administration official told the Post. "The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment."

The U.S. source told Reuters Biden will address concerns about Russia's actions at Ukraine's border and reiterate the U.S.'s commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty during the meeting.

The tension comes as Russia is demanding Ukraine not be admitted into NATO, with the U.S. firing back, saying Russia does not get to decide which countries NATO allows in.

Biden strongly condemned Russia's actions at the Ukraine border on Friday, saying the U.S. will "make it very, very difficult" for Putin to attack.

"I have been in constant contact with our allies in Europe, with the Ukrainians. My secretary of State, national security adviser have been engaged extensively and what I am doing is putting together what I believe will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do," Biden said.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and State Department for comment.

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