Biden-Putin: video call of the presidents of Russia and the USA amid the tension over the Russian deployment near Ukraine | Univision Politics News

President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin speak via video call in what is already considered a meeting of great importance for the two leaders amid the growing diplomatic tensions between Washington and Moscow. The underlying theme is what could end up becoming a new regional conflict: the mobilization of military forces on the borders between Russia and Ukraine.

Recent US intelligence findings estimate that Russia could begin a military offensive in Ukraine in a matter of months, as it accumulates as many as 175,000 troops along the border.

The video call that began shortly after 10:00 am ET is one of the most intense diplomatic moments that the US president has to face.

Biden speaking from the situational room in Washington to Putin, who attends him from Moscow, apparently is willing to warn him that Russia could face severe sanctions that will affect its economy if it finally takes the plunge and invades neighboring Ukraine with its troops.

A senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to reporters said Biden intends to make it clear to the Russian leader that there will be a “very real cost” if Russia proceeds to military action.

But the answer would not be only on the economic plane: “If Putin moves, there would be a greater demand from our allies” from Eastern Europe for “troops, capabilities and exercises” and in that case, “the United States would respond affirmatively,” the official said.

The high official clarified that, however, for the moment Washington rules out a direct military response in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine, since he does not want “to find himself in a position where the direct use of his forces” is what prevails in his evaluations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki advanced the central line that will prevail at the crucial meeting of presidents. “We have consulted significantly with our allies and believe we have a way forward that would dictate significant and severe damage to the Russian economy“, said.

The counterpart, Putin is expected to demand from Biden assurances that the NATO military alliance will not be able to seat Ukraine, which has been seeking your adhesion for a long time. That is something that is not at stake for the Americans and their NATO allies.

Ukraine aspires to join NATO as the best defense mechanism against the threat of Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and openly supports the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk. But analysts say that possibility is not yet on Washington’s priorities.

The US mobilizes its allies in parallel to the video call between Biden and Putin

While the White House prepares the bilateral meeting between Biden and Putin, the US government has also moved in parallel on the international scene.

This Monday, Biden and several of his European allies, including France and Germany, asked Russia to reduce tension on the border with Ukraine.

In a statement, the White House explained that Biden shared his concern about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in a call with several European leaders: French President Emmanuel Macron; the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi; and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson.

“Leaders discussed their shared concern about the Russian military concentration on the borders of Ukraine and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Russia, “stressed the US presidential office.

In that statement, they agreed that diplomacy “is the only way forward to resolve the conflict” in the Donbas (Ukraine).

Likewise, the leaders stressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and agreed that their respective teams will remain “in close contact” to monitor the situation.

The support for Minsk was ratified after a call from the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenski, in which he conveyed the “unwavering” support of the US for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In another statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Blinken and Zelenski agreed on the need for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution the conflict in the Donbas and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea.

“We have agreed to continue our joint and concerted actions,” tweeted Zelensky, who, wearing a helmet and camouflaged bulletproof vest, visited the trenches on the front line with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Biden will call his Ukrainian counterpart again “in the days following” his conversation with Putin, the White House said.

Republicans waiting for how Biden will respond to Putin

Meanwhile, Republicans in Washington are framing this moment as a key test of Biden’s leadership on the global stage.

Biden promised as a candidate to reaffirm US leadership following President Donald Trump’s emphasis on an “America first” foreign policy. But Biden has faced strong criticism from Republicans who say it has been ineffective in slowing Iran’s march toward becoming a nuclear power and that the Biden administration has done little to counter autocratic leaders like China’s Xi Jinping. , Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran and Putin.

“Authoritarian colleagues in Beijing and Tehran will be watching how the free world responds,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “And President Biden has the opportunity to set the tone when he talks to Putin.”

Trump, who displayed unusual deference to Putin during his presidency, said Monday in an interview on Newsmax that the conversation between Biden and Putin would not be a “fair match,” describing it as equivalent to the six-time champions of New England Patriots. the Super Bowl, taking on a high school football team.

But he is not exactly a novice in this fight. Biden was vice president in 2014 when Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea and annexed the territory of Ukraine.

Political observers point to the Crimean episode – one of the worst moments for former President Barack Obama on the international scene – looming over Biden at this critical moment.