Biden To Raise Buildup Near Ukraine, Critical Issues In Call With Putin - Official

Biden to Raise Buildup Near Ukraine, Critical Issues in Call With Putin - Official

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th December, 2021) At the upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Joe Biden will raise concerns about the buildup of Russian military forces near the border with Ukraine along with other critical issues, such as cybersecurity and the Iran nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Monday at a briefing.

Putin and Biden will speak via videoconference on Tuesday. Moscow previously confirmed that they were expected to hold marathon talks on Ukraine tensions and the growing NATO presence near Russian borders.

"President Biden will obviously raise our concerns with Russia's military buildup and plans with respect to Ukraine. The agenda will also cover a number of other critical issues, including strategic stability, cyber, and Iran's nuclear program... (Biden) will make clear that there will be very real costs should Russia choose to proceed, but he will also make clear that there is an effective way forward with respect to diplomacy," the official said.

Biden will be speaking with key European partners on Monday to prepare for the upcoming call, according to the official.

The United States does not know or have a clear indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin has given an affirmative order on Ukraine, the official said.

It is more about planning intentions and the kinds of movements the US has seen, the official added.

"In advance of this call President Biden will be speaking with key European allies," the official said.

US State Secretary Antony Blinken, the official added, will be speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "in advance of the call, and Biden will talk to Zelenskyy following the call."

Biden will make clear during the call - without any kind of "rhetorical flourish or finger-wagging" - what the United States is prepared to do both in respect to deterrence and in respect to diplomacy, the official added.

Speaking about the NATO alliance, Washington will support talks between the bloc and Russia to address larger issues of concern on both sides amid rising tensions caused by the buildup of Russian military forces near Ukraine, the official said.

"We will, of course, support discussions between NATO and Russia to address larger issues of concern on both sides - Russia's concerns with NATO activities and NATO and American concerns with Russian activities. We did this in the Cold War as a mechanism to help reduce instability and increase transparency. We've done it in the post-Cold War era through the NATO-Russia Council, the OSCE and other mechanisms. There's no reason we can't do that going forward," the official said.

Over the past several weeks, Ukraine and some Western countries have expressed concern about the alleged increase in what they characterize as "aggressive actions" by Russia on their border. However, Russia has refuted the accusations by saying it is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion.

Biden told reporters earlier this week, answering a question about the issue of Ukraine, that he expected a "long discussion" with the Russian president.

Russia has repeatedly said that it stands by its right to move armed forces freely within its territory. On November 23, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia does not have any aggressive plans with regard to Ukraine. The Kremlin has also expressed concerns about Kiev having aggregated almost half of all its armed forces on the contact line with the Donbas region in the east of the country.