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miercuri, 19 ianuarie 2022 - 19:51
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‘Serious’ talk between Biden and Putin sets stage for diplomacy

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U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday exchanged warnings over Ukraine but conveyed some optimism that diplomatic talks in January could ease spiralling tensions, according to Reuters.

In a 50-minute call, their second conversation this month, Biden said he needed to see Russia decrease its military build-up near Ukraine, while Putin said sanctions threatened by Washington and allies could lead to a rupture in ties. The call was requested by Putin.

“President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the call created a “good backdrop” for future talks.

The leaders’ exchange set the stage for lower-level engagement between the countries, including a January 9-10 U.S.-Russia security meeting, followed by a Russia-NATO session on January 12, and a broader conference including Moscow, Washington and other European countries slated for January 13.

Despite the talk of diplomacy, the tone of the call was described by officials on both sides as “serious.” And neither country detailed significant progress towards a resolution or the outlines of any deal.

“Biden laid out two paths,” including diplomacy and deterrence, including “serious costs and consequences,” said a senior administration official.

“Both leaders acknowledged that there were likely to be areas where we could make the meaningful progress as well as areas where agreements may be impossible, and that the upcoming talks would determine more precisely the contours of each of those categories.”

Aides have said the possibilities include measures that would effectively disconnect Russia from the global financial system, while further arming NATO.

Ushakov said Putin “immediately responded” that any sanctions now or later “could lead to a complete breakdown in ties between our countries.” He added: “Our president also mentioned that it would be a mistake that our descendants would see as a huge error.”

Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it likes.