The American President, Joe Biden, will offer its Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “A diplomatic channel” as a way out of the Ukrainian crisis during a phone call on Thursday, before the negotiations on security in Europe that will begin on January 10.
Biden and Putin will speak by phone on Thursday “to discuss various issues, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia,” a White House spokeswoman on security issues announced on Wednesday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov confirmed it, specifying that it will be “late at night”, Moscow time.
Biden, who will speak to Putin from Delaware, where he has a house, will be willing to undertake “a diplomatic route” although the United States remains “deeply concerned” by the presence of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and is “prepared to respond.” in the event of an invasion, according to a senior White House official.
Washington “would like the troops to return to their usual training areas,” said this source.
The phone call will come two weeks before the negotiations between the two countries, scheduled for January 10, on the nuclear arms control treaties and the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, where the West accuses Moscow of concentrating troops for a possible attack.
The US government continues to carry out “extensive diplomacy with (its) European allies and partners, consulting and coordinating a common approach in response to the military concentration of Russia on the border with Ukraine,” says the spokeswoman for the National Security Council. Emily Horne.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski.
The head of US diplomacy “reiterated the unwavering support of the United States for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of the military reinforcement of Russia,” said his spokesman Ned Price.
Blinken and Zelenski spoke of efforts to “peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic contacts with Russia,” he added.
Zelensky also mentioned the “diplomatic efforts to achieve peace” and stressed in a tweet that he had received guarantees of “full American support” to “combat a Russian attack.”
-Russia rules out concessions-
It will be the second telephone conversation between the two leaders in less than a month. In early December, Biden threatened Putin with sanctions “the likes of which he has never seen” if he attacks Ukraine.
Russia claims to act in response to what it sees as hostility from the West and recently submitted two draft treaties to prevent NATO expansion and end the military activities of Western powers near Russian borders. Above all, he wants to prevent Ukraine from becoming a member of the Atlantic Alliance.
The January 10 negotiation is tense. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has ruled out any “concessions” from the outset and the United States had already warned that some Russian requests were “unacceptable.”
These bilateral negotiations will precede a meeting on January 12 between Russia and NATO, followed by another the following day between Moscow and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which the United States is a member, reported Monday. an American spokesman.
In 2014 Russia annexed part of the Ukrainian territory, the Crimean peninsula, a maneuver for which it was the target of sanctions.