Crisis in Ukraine: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin exchange warnings

The White House released a photo of the US leader, phone in hand, during his meeting with the Russian president, from his private residence in Wilmington on Thursday, December 30, 2021. AP - Adam Schultz

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

This is the second telephone conversation in less than a month for Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutin.

Thursday evening, December 30, the Russian and American presidents spent nearly an hour on the phone to try to clear a particularly tense international context around Ukraine.

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The White House contented itself with broadcasting a photo of the interview: Joe Biden, phone in ear, pen in hand, installed in the cozy atmosphere of his office while in mahogany paneling of his home in Wilmington, Delaware where the President of the United States is spending his holiday season, reports our correspondent in Miami,

David Thomson

.

The White House also informs that this interview, carried out at the request of Vladimir Putin, lasted 50 minutes.

And like the first phone call at the beginning of December, this second call aimed for Washington to make prevail the "

 diplomatic channel

 " to get out of the crisis generated by the deployment for two months of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border.

All diplomatic progress requires " 

de-escalation 

" in Ukraine, Biden pleaded with Putin

The tenant of the White House made it clear to Vladimir Putin that the United States and its allies would respond " 

resolutely

 " if Russia were to decide to further invade Ukraine.

The Americans will closely monitor the movements of the Russian army on the Ukrainian border, warned Joe Biden.

► 

To listen: Towards a breakdown in stability in the world?

The Kremlin "satisfied" with the interview 

For his part, Vladimir Poutine said he was " 

satisfied 

" with his telephone interview with Joe Biden, the Kremlin said.

The discussion was " 

frank 

" and " 

concrete 

," Kremlin diplomatic adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters.

The United States has, he said, shown its willingness to address Russia's main concerns.

But the Kremlin wants "results" on its demands for " 

guarantees 

" of security.

With the approach of Russian-American talks on January 10 in Geneva, Moscow keeps repeating that the top priority is the negotiation of two treaties redefining the balance and the security architecture of Europe.

For Vladimir Poutine, the security of Russia depends on the prohibition of any expansion of NATO and the end of Western military activities near the Russian borders, an area that Moscow considers as falling within its area of ​​influence.

"Colossal error"

American sanctions against Moscow would be a " 

colossal mistake

 ", warned Vladimir Poutine and could cause a complete rupture of the bilateral relations.

During a previous telephone interview at the beginning of December between Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutine, the American president threatened his Russian counterpart with sanctions "as he has never seen" in the event of an attack against Ukraine.

But it is very likely that once again, the tenant of the White House reminded his Russian counterpart of the possibility of unprecedented economic sanctions against Russia and against himself if he dared to cross the red line.

► 

To read also: Faced with tensions with Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev denounces the “

arrogance

” of the United States

Diplomacy will take back its rights

The mere fact that this conversation took place is in itself a sign, analyzes our correspondent in Moscow,

Jean Cassey

.

A sign that, perhaps, after weeks of verbal escalation and thinly veiled threats that raised fears of open war between Russia and Ukraine, diplomacy will resume its rights.

A few days ago, part of the Russian forces stationed at the Ukrainian border returned to their barracks.

After the Russo-American summit on January 10, a Russia-NATO meeting is scheduled for the 12th and then Russia-OSCE on the 13th.

It remains to be seen whether this diplomatic marathon will make it possible to resolve the deep contradiction that has provoked this crisis: worried to see Ukraine getting ever closer to NATO, Russia demands assurances that no further enlargement of the Atlantic alliance will take place. 'takes place in Eastern Europe.

The United States is unwilling or unable to make this promise.

Two positions of principle which will be difficult to reconcile.

But Russia, if it does not obtain satisfaction, does not rule out recourse to military force.

► 

To read also: Crisis in Ukraine: Russia and the United States appoint two negotiators

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  • Ukraine

  • United States

  • Joe biden

  • Russia

  • Vladimir Poutine

  • Diplomacy

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