On December 7, US and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin had their first conversation since July. The main subject of the talks was Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine.
The digital meeting of the leaders lasted 2 hours and was provided by a secure video link. Following the summit, the White House and the Kremlin published their versions of the talks results.
What White House reports about Biden's conversation with Putin
The administration of the American President noted that Biden had warned Putin about the consequences of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, namely imposing strict sanctions.
"President Biden expressed deep concern of the United States and our European allies regarding the Russian buildup of forces around Ukraine and made it clear that the United States and its allies would respond with powerful economic and other measures in the case of a military escalation," is stated in the report.
The American President once again stressed support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Biden called on his colleague to "de-escalate and return to democracy."
After the summit, the US President's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that "Biden told President Putin bluntly that if the Russian Federation continued to invade Ukrainian territory, the US and European allies would respond with strong economic measures." He added that the Head of the White House also promised, in case of an escalation, to provide Ukraine with additional "defensive materials" and to strengthen its NATO allies on the eastern flank (Poland, Romania, the Baltic countries).
Meanwhile, former US President Donald Trump said that Putin "does not care" about any threats and warnings from Biden.
"Putin looks at our pathetic surrender in Afghanistan, where we left behind dead soldiers, American citizens, and $85 billion in military equipment. Then he looks at Biden. He is not worried," the ex-president stated.
How Kremlin assesses Biden-Putin meeting
The Kremlin's version of the results of the digital meeting states that the main subject was "the problem related to the internal Ukrainian crisis and the lack of progress in the implementation of the 2015 Minsk agreements that are the uncontested basis for a peaceful settlement."
"The President of Russia, with specific examples, illustrated the destructive line of Kyiv aimed at the complete dismantling of the Minsk agreements and agreements reached in the Normandy format and expressed serious concern about Kyiv's provocative actions against Donbas," the Kremlin persuades.
In addition, the report notes that during the talks, Biden focused on the "allegedly" threatening "nature" of the movement of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin version confirms the threat of the American President to take action in case of further escalation.
"Putin responded by saying that the responsibility should not be shifted onto the shoulders of Russia, since it is NATO that is making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory and is building up its military potential near our (Russian—) borders. Therefore, Russia is seriously interested in obtaining reliable, legally fixed guarantees that exclude NATO's eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike weapons systems in states adjacent to Russia," is stated in the report.
Context. Now Russia is taking the same steps as in April of this year, and is pulling in troops and equipment to the borders. Ukrainian intelligence expects a new Russian invasion of Ukraine in late January—early February. American colleagues confirm these predictions and call on Europe to develop a joint action plan to contain the Kremlin as soon as possible. At the same time, the Russian Federation assures that the dissemination of such data is a "hysteria", allegedly artificially whipped up by Washington.