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The United States and NATO turn Ukraine into a "powder keg"

Economics, Trade and Finance: ROUNDUP: Biden and Putin video summit

In the video summit, Putin, in turn, reiterated his call to halt NATO’s eastward expansion. After a statement issued by the Kremlin on Tuesday evening, Putin said that Russia wants legally binding guarantees that the Western military alliance will not expand to the east and deploy offensive weapons there. However, Sullivan said Biden has not made any concessions on the matter. The president stands by his side. “States should be able to choose freely with whom to work together.”

Russia sees itself as threatened by NATO’s advances and wants to prevent the entry of the former Soviet republics, Ukraine and Georgia, to the alliance. Putin also stated that moving NATO’s military infrastructure to Ukraine would represent a “red line” that must be crossed from the Russian point of view.

The Kremlin described the conversation between Putin and Biden as factual and frank. Sullivan described the exchange as “helpful”: The conversation enabled Biden to explain US positions very clearly.

The United States has accused Russia of deploying troops close to the border with Ukraine for weeks. According to this, the West fears a Russian invasion of the former Soviet Republic. Russia rejects this and accuses Ukraine of deploying more than 120,000 soldiers on the line in the separatist regions.

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The developments brought back bad memories of 2014. At that time, Russia annexed Crimea and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, which is still ongoing. The conflict has not been resolved to this day, and there are frequent battles in eastern Ukraine.

Sullivan said Biden made it clear to Putin that “we are ready to do things now that we didn’t do in 2014.” He will not publicly comment on details. But he stressed that the United States is preparing for any eventuality.

According to the White House, after Putin’s talks, Biden met with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. She added that the heads of state and government reiterated their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and stressed that it was up to Moscow to reduce tensions. Shortly before the video summit with Putin, Biden had already engaged European allies in a five-way format.

Sullivan stressed that the United States is also informing other European partners, NATO members and international allies about talks with Putin. And on Thursday, Biden wanted to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selinsky. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Zelensky on Monday.

According to the Kremlin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, it remains unclear when Biden and Putin will exchange ideas again. It is difficult to predict this, Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. However, it is easy to organize calls on the phone or video key. “We will wait and see how the situation develops.” First, the Kremlin will hold the conversation with Biden, Ushakov said. It can take some time.

As heads of state, Putin and Biden met in person for the first time in Geneva in June. Tuesday’s video summit also addressed cyber security in both countries as well as Iran’s nuclear program and other international conflicts.