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US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin ready for talks on Tuesday amid Ukraine tensions



US President Biden and Russia’s Putin were expected to make video calls from Friday. (file)


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden will hold talks via video conference on Tuesday, the Kremlin and Washington said, as tensions rise over Ukraine.

According to Russian news agencies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that talks would take place in the evening at Russian time and the duration would be determined by the two leaders.

A White House statement also confirmed the talks, saying the leaders would discuss a range of issues over a secure video link.

“President Biden will underline US concerns with Russian military activities along the border with Ukraine and reaffirm the United States’ support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in the statement.

Biden said on Friday he would make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to launch any invasion of Ukraine, which warned that a massive attack could be planned next month.

Washington and Kiev say Moscow has mobilized troops near Ukraine’s borders and accuses Russia of planning an invasion.

Russia has denied any war intent and accused the West of provocation, particularly with military exercises in the Black Sea, which it sees as part of its sphere of influence.

Biden and Putin were expected to hold video calls from Friday.

‘Safety Guaranteed’

Biden told reporters in Washington that he was “putting together the most comprehensive and meaningful initiatives to make it very difficult for Mr Putin to move forward and do what people are concerned that he might”.

And on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin clarified in comments after a speech in California that he was taking the threat of invasion seriously.

“He’s attacked before,” he said, when asked how worried he was.

“And so when we look at the number of forces that are in the border area, as we look at some of the things happening in the information sector, as we look at what’s happening in the cyber domain, it really raises our concern. enhances,” Austin said.

“We are certainly committed to helping Ukraine defend its sovereign territory.”

Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since backed separatists fighting Kiev in the country’s east. More than 13,000 people have died in the conflict.

Moscow meanwhile wants to see an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, with much of Eastern Europe joining the alliance following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday asked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide “security guarantees” that NATO will not come close to Russia’s borders.

Tensions remain high despite increased contact between the two rivals since Putin and Biden met for the first time at a summit in Geneva in June.

As well as the Ukraine conflict, Russia and the United States continue to debate cyberattacks and the staff of their embassies, following several waves of diplomatic expulsions.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)