Russian President Vladimir Putin informed his American counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday that he is convinced that effective dialogue between Moscow and Washington is feasible, hours before phone talks as tensions over Ukraine escalate.
Putin and Biden will speak at 20:30 GMT today, for the second time in less than a month, in the latest effort to ease tensions over Moscow’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border.
“I am convinced that … we can move forward and establish an effective Russian-American dialogue based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s national interests,” Putin said, according to a statement released by the Kremlin through which he sent holiday greetings to world leaders.
Biden would declare, according to a senior US administration official, that “we are prepared for diplomacy and for a diplomatic path forward.”
“But we are also prepared to respond if Russia advances with a further invasion of Ukraine,” Biden would tell Putin, according to the official.
Russia has committed tens of thousands of troops to the Ukrainian border, in what could be a repeat of 2014, when Moscow seized the Crimean peninsula and a pro-Russian insurgency erupted in eastern Ukraine, killing over 13,000 people.
The call comes ahead of discussions between Russia and the United States scheduled for January 10 in Geneva.
The United States has taken the lead in voicing concerns about Russian troop moves near ex-Soviet Ukraine, accusing Moscow of planning a winter invasion of its neighbour.
Moscow has refuted the accusation and stated that it expects the West to accept the comprehensive security demands it made earlier this month.
They said that NATO could not accept new members and that the US could not build additional military bases in former Soviet nations.