Unlike this summer’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday’s talks will take place digitally.
The last time the two leaders spoke, cybersecurity was the focus. Biden has pressured Putin to rein in hacker groups said to be attacking US targets from bases in Russia. The attacks have continued somewhat since then — and according to the White House, the issue is still high on the list of calls.
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But other points are expected to dominate the meeting.
– Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax, that tensions around Ukraine in particular.
On Monday, the White House warned that in the event of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “serious economic damage” and a growing US presence in Eastern Europe await.
President Biden also spoke on Monday with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, and it was agreed that a common strategy on Ukraine would be in place.
Just a few days ago, on Thursday, the US and Russian foreign ministers Anthony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov met outside Stockholm in connection with the meeting of members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Until then, Ukraine was high on the agenda. The meeting did not judge that the cold atmosphere between the two countries had improved.
“I am developing what I believe are the most powerful and meaningful measures to make Putin very difficult to do what people fear he will,” Biden said the day after the OSCE meeting, according to the Associated Press.
Russian soldiers on the border
The warning is believed to apply to Washington, DC, information about an imminent invasion of eastern Ukraine, something Moscow says is irrelevant. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that more than 90,000 Russian soldiers are present on the Ukrainian border and in Crimea, annexed by Russia.
Putin is expected to demand legally binding guarantees that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the defense alliance, but Biden has already rejected that request.
– He said last Friday, “I do not accept a red line from anyone.”
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