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5 key takeaways from Putin-Biden call

A 50-minute call between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden touched on a number of security issues that are expected to be discussed at length in a series of high-level diplomatic meetings between Russia and the West next month.

Biden signals compromise with Russia is possible on Ukraine

Biden reportedly indicated to Putin that the US was not planning to deploy “offensive strike weapons in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said after the call. Putin’s top aide Yury Ushakov pointed out that a verbal pledge was “one of the key points” for Moscow as far as the Russia security proposals to the West are concerned. The White House appeared to pour some cold water on the claim, however, noting that “there were certainly no declaration as to intentions” made by Biden during the conversation.

Biden reveals what US will do if Russia ‘invades Ukraine’

 Biden “made clear” that the US and its allies “will respond decisively” if Russia moves to invade Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said following the call. If Russia “chooses to proceed with a further invasion of Ukraine,” it will have to deal with “serious” consequences, including “economic costs,” “adjustments and augmentations of [NATO’s] force posture in Allied countries” and “additional assistance to Ukraine,” a senior US official warned after the call. The US and its partners have accused Moscow of fomenting tensions at the border with Ukraine, citing an alleged Russian military build-up. Moscow has consistently denied speculations that it’s eyeing an invasion.

Putin outlines Russia’s response to potential US sanctions

Responding to a threat of wide-ranging US sanctions in case of further escalation along Russia’s border with Ukraine, the Russian President noted that such punitive measures would deal a fatal blow to US-Russia relations. “Unprecedented sanctions” targeting Russia’s economy, finance and military industry, if imposed by Washington, will lead to a “complete breakdown” of bilateral ties, Ushakov said, calling such a scenario “a colossal mistake.”

Format for January Russia talks with the West revealed

The phone call was designed to “set the tone and tenor” – as the White House put it – for a series of diplomatic meetings that are scheduled to take place in the first half of January. The talks will be conducted in three formats. Russia-US talks set to be held on January 9-10 in Geneva will be followed by a meeting in Brussels between Russia and NATO on January 12. The series of talks will be capped off by a meeting on January 13 at the level of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  

Putin speaks about end-goal of talks with US & NATO

In his call with Biden, Putin also laid out key provisions of Russia’s proposals for security guarantees to the US and NATO, the Kremlin said. Putin stressed in particular that while the mere fact of the negotiations is important, Russia expects concrete results from the meetings. Moscow’s ultimate goal is to obtain guarantees of its own security, Putin reportedly told Biden, according to Ushakov. The US president appeared to take the demand “quite seriously,” the adviser said.

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