Biden Set To Demand Withdrawal Of 100,000 Troops From Ukraine Border
US President Joe Biden will hold another phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday (Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Manila), a National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson said, part of a whirlwind series of talks aimed at defusing Russia’s military buildup of more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, Jack Detsch reported for Foreign Policy.
Photo Insert: The call between the two leaders is said to have been requested by Putin.
The call, the second this month between the two leaders, was requested by Putin, a senior Biden administration official told reporters, but it was not immediately clear why the Russian leader asked for it.
The US and Russia will deal with the Ukraine standoff at three separate forums in January—including bilateral talks led by the US State Department and a reconvening of the NATO-Russia Council, a forum where Moscow can air its grievances with the 30-nation alliance that has been mostly dormant since its 2002 inception.
“President Biden has always believed there is no substitute for direct leader-to-leader dialogue and engagement,” the senior administration official said of the upcoming call. But the talks are a two-way street, the official said, and “should proceed on the basis of reciprocity.”
Putin’s move came after Biden refused to entertain Russia’s demand that Ukraine and other former Soviet republics not be accepted in NATO since Moscow feels the US and its allies are encircling Russia and setting the stage for war.
Putin is still indignant over the ouster of a Ukrainian president close to him in 2014 and it precipitated his annexation of Crimea and his unqualified support for Russian-speaking separatists in the industrial Donbas region.