US, Russia leaders set for crucial call over Ukraine

Ukraine and NATO powers accuse Russia of building up troops near the border, sparking fears of a possible attack.

Russian Federation, Kyiv

12/7/2021 11:45:00 AM

Biden and Putin will hold a high-stakes video conference call that Biden will use to try to dissuade Moscow from invading Ukraine

Ukraine and NATO powers accuse Russia of building up troops near the border, sparking fears of a possible attack.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a high-stakes video conference call that Biden will use to try to dissuade Moscow from invading Ukraine, where thousands of troops are massed near the border.Biden consulted with European allies on Monday to discuss plans for sanctions against Russia and seek a strong allied stance in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

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Biden spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.They called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and return to diplomacy and said their teams will stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, the White House said.

Biden's team has identified a set of economic penalties to impose should Russia launch an invasion, a senior Biden administration official said.A separate source familiar with the situation said targeting Putin's inner circle has been discussed but no decision had been made.  headtopics.com

READ MORE:Ukraine: Large-scale Russian offensive possible in JanuaryNew sanctions consideredSanctions against Russia's biggest banks and the ability to convert rubles into dollars and other currencies were also being considered, another source said.

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White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it remained unclear whether Putin had made a final decision to invade Ukraine.The secure video call, with Biden speaking from the White House Situation Room, is expected to occur at about 1500 GMT.Fears of a possible attack

Moscow denies any such plan and accuses Kyiv of building up its own forces in its east, where Russian-backed separatists control a large part of Ukrainian territory.The senior Biden administration official said Biden would warn Putin of severe economic penalties if he launches a war.

The United States has urged both countries to return to a set of agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 and designed to end a separatist war by Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine."He will make clear that there will be very real costs should Russia choose to proceed, but he will also make clear that there is an effective way forward with respect to diplomacy," the official told reporters. headtopics.com

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The two leaders head into the talks with scant room for compromise.In Moscow, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the talks would focus on what Russia regards as NATO's creeping expansion towards its borders, as well as long-term security guarantees for Russia.

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