Biden proposes summit with Putin as Russia amasses on Ukraine border
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden proposed a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone conversation between the two leaders Tuesday, the White House said.
Biden suggested holding the summit “in the coming months,” according to an ad in the government’s appeal on Tuesday.
The call, at least the second between the two men since Biden took office in January, comes as the United States and other western countries grow weary of the presence of emerging Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.
In a brief summary of the conversation, the White House said the two discussed “a number of regional and global issues.”
Biden suggested holding a summit somewhere outside the US and Russia “to discuss the full range of problems the countries are facing”.
The Kremlin said in a statement later Tuesday that Biden had “suggested considering the possibility of holding a face-to-face summit in the foreseeable future.”
“Both presidents have expressed their willingness to pursue dialogue on critical areas of ensuring global security, which will serve not only the interests of Russia and the United States, but the international community as a whole,” read the Russian reading.
“In addition, Joseph Biden expressed an interest in normalizing the state of affairs bilaterally and in establishing stable and predictable interaction on urgent issues such as ensuring strategic stability and arms control, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Afghanistan and global climate change.” added it.
None of the details indicated whether Putin approved the summit or how he received the proposal.
Other issues raised during the conversation were Russia’s alleged interference in American elections and cyber attacks on US institutions.
Biden also expressed concerns about Russia’s recent military build-up near Ukraine and in Crimea, which Russia is claiming for itself and which the US and Ukraine consider as occupied territory.
“President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the White House said.
The Kremlin reading said: “During the exchange of views on the internal Ukraine crisis, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches for a political solution on the basis of the Minsk package of measures.”
There is no mention of any discussion of the imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in the White House or the Kremlin. Navalny officials said the enemy of Putin, poisoned by nerve agent Novichok in August, is in poor health.
Biden’s government has claimed the Russian government was behind the poisoning and last month sanctioned seven Russian officials for the attack. Putin has denied playing a role.
During the first post-inauguration phone call between Biden and Putin in January, Biden brought up Navalny and “did not hold back,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
Continue reading: US concerned about Russian troop movements near Ukraine
In recent weeks, Moscow has increased its military presence along the Ukrainian border, raising concerns in the West about a burgeoning military conflict between the two neighboring countries.
The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that it will conduct more than 4,000 military exercises this month to review the readiness of its armed forces.
Last month, the Ukrainian government said four of its soldiers were killed by Russian shelling in Donbass. Moscow has denied that it has armed forces in eastern Ukraine. Since 2014, Kiev has been fighting against Russian-backed separatists in a conflict that, according to the United Nations, killed at least 13,000 people.
Continue reading: The West is waiting for Putin’s next move as tensions between Russia and Ukraine mount
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Moscow would move its armed forces over Russian territory at its own discretion, calling the escalating tensions “unprecedented”. He also suggested that Ukraine was on the verge of civil war that would threaten Russia’s security.
“The Kremlin fears that civil war could resume in Ukraine. And if civil war, extensive military action, resumes near our borders, it would endanger the security of the Russian Federation,” Peskov told the Associated Press . “The continued escalation of tensions is unprecedented.”
Putin accused Ukraine of resuming “dangerous provocative actions” while calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, according to a Kremlin report.
The Kremlin previously said it was concerned about mounting tensions in eastern Ukraine and feared that the Kiev armed forces would try to resume conflict.