Joe Biden has said that he is not considering sending US troops to defend Ukraine in response to a Russian military build-up on the country’s borders.
“That is not on the table,” he told reporters on Wednesday, a day after speaking directly with Vladimir Putin in an effort to avoid a military crisis.
Biden warned Putin that there would be “serious consequences” if Russia launches an attack on Ukraine and said the United States would provide “defensive capabilities” to the Ukrainian army.
Biden also said he hoped to announce “meetings at a higher level” between Russia and at least four NATO members in an effort to address the Kremlin’s complaints about the military alliance. Biden said he looked forward to announcing the meetings on Friday.
The talks would include “at least four of our main NATO allies and Russia to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns regarding NATO in general and … lower the temperature along the Eastern Front.”
Those talks could coincide with the “discussion on strategic security on the continent” that the Kremlin said it expected in remarks after the high-risk talks between Biden and Putin.
“I want to emphasize once again: the conversations were very open, substantive and I would say constructive. In any case, I hope the American side feels the same about the results of our meeting, “Putin told reporters on Wednesday.
“We can continue this dialogue. I think that’s the main thing. “
Biden and Putin appeared to make little progress during their virtual summit on Tuesday, exchanging accusations about Russian military build-up near Ukraine and the potential for new economic sanctions against Moscow.
The United States had not indicated that it is willing to hold the same negotiations that the Kremlin wants.
But the Kremlin’s statements indicate that Russia is not yet abandoning the talks, while leaving approximately 100,000 soldiers within striking distance of Ukraine.
“#Putin–#Biden The video call has been helpful, ”wrote Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “Acknowledging the safety concerns of others is key. Reviving the channel in [Ukraine] it can help avoid misunderstandings … Fears of war in the west won’t go away yet, but jaw is better than war. “
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said that “the contact itself serves [as] deterrence and de-escalation, ”Reuters reported. “We appreciate the crucial diplomatic engagement of the United States in efforts to bring Russia back to the negotiating table.”
Biden is scheduled to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday.
Russia and the United States each gave vague confirmations for future talks, but the exact subject of those talks and when they would take place is unclear.
Russia has said it wants “legal guarantees” to limit any NATO expansion eastward and the placement of missile systems in Ukraine or other countries bordering Russia. That would indicate that Moscow is seeking a new treaty with the alliance, which is likely to anger some members.
Russia has also demanded that Biden force Ukraine into direct talks with Russian-backed separatists, something that has not been headline in Kiev.
The White House wants Russia to reduce the threat of an invasion as a condition for discussions, and Biden has warned the Kremlin of specific sanctions that could result from a new Russian offensive in Ukraine. The United States and Ukraine fear that Moscow may be planning an operation starting in late January.
The two leaders spoke by video conference for more than two hours, a format Putin enjoyed, Peskov said.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said: “The discussion between President Biden and President Putin was direct and straightforward. There was a lot of give and take, no finger movements. But the president was very clear about the position of the United States on all these issues. “
After the call, Biden spoke with the leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Italy by conference call. The president had consulted them on Monday, and the White House said they had agreed to “stay in close contact on a coordinated and comprehensive approach in response to Russia’s military concentration on Ukraine’s borders.”