At a critical juncture for Ukraine, Biden and Putin meet.
As tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak via secure video call on Tuesday. The two leaders’ meeting is expected to be highly consequential.
Two people with knowledge of the most recent intelligence assessments told CNN that Russia has built supply lines, including medical units and fuel, that could sustain a prolonged conflict should Moscow choose to invade. Russia has amassed up to 175,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, according to recent US intelligence findings, and it could begin a military campaign in Ukraine within months.
After 10 a.m. ET, according to the White House, the meeting got underway.
The President is expected to lay out to Putin what sanctions and other measures the United States could take if the Russian President decides to invade Ukraine in one of the most pivotal foreign policy meetings of Vice President Biden’s still-young presidency. Vladimir Putin has not yet made up his mind to launch a military offensive against Ukraine, according to the US intelligence community, and Vice President Joe Biden plans to tell Putin that the US is prepared to take “substantive economic countermeasures” if Putin goes ahead with a military escalation in Ukraine, according to a senior administration official.
a White House preview indicates that the call will be televised live “The leaders will talk about a variety of issues pertaining to the US-Russia relationship, such as strategic stability, cyber security, and regional concerns. President Biden is expected to reaffirm the United States’ support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during his visit to the country’s border with Russia.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said Monday that Biden and Putin will meet “behind closed doors” via a secure video link.
“You won’t be able to watch it live on TV. There is a good chance that we’ll be able to show the beginning of the meeting. The beginning of the meeting will be broadcast, but the rest of the meeting will be private “The Russian news agency Tass quoted him as saying.
“Video conferencing via a secure communication channel is expected to be extensive and lengthy. It’s going to be a long one, we think “Peskov tacked on to the conversation.
Last June, the two leaders met in Geneva for a summit. In July, they made their final public phone call.
According to Pentagon sources, “added military capability” by Russian forces is still being observed along the country’s border with Ukraine.
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “What we continue to see, and what we continue to see is additional military capability that President Putin continues to add, additional military capability in and around Ukraine.”
In recent days, US officials have considered whether to impose broad sanctions on Russia in order to deter Putin from invading Ukraine.
One possible “nuclear option” is disconnection of Russia from the SWIFT international payment system used by banks around the world, which includes new actions against Putin’s inner circle and Russia’s energy producers.
President Obama and Vice President Biden are in talks with European partners, many of whom have closer economic ties to Russia, to see if they can work together on new sanctions against Russia, officials said on Wednesday.
Half a dozen sources tell CNN that the administration is also considering the possibility of evacuating US citizens from Ukraine if Russia invades the country and creates a dangerous security situation.
As the administration briefs Congress on how the United States is preparing for the possibility of a terrorist attack, the Pentagon is leading the contingency planning, according to the sources. Even though the United States has limited options to deter a Russian invasion, State Department official Victoria Nuland gave senators a “gloomy” briefing on Monday night about the sanctions package the administration is preparing in response, a source familiar with the briefing said.
According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during Monday’s press briefing, Vice President Joe Biden will make it clear that the United States is considering “a range of economic sanctions or options that could have a detrimental impact on the Russian economy.”
According to Putin’s remarks from last week, he intends to press for specific agreements that would put an end to any further NATO eastward expansion and deployment of NATO weapons systems near Russia’s borders. Regardless of what Putin tells Biden on Tuesday, he is unlikely to accept the demand that NATO should not accept Ukraine as a member.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday night that Vice President Joe Biden held a phone call with European allies to discuss “their shared concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and Russia’s increasingly harsh rhetoric.”
Calling for Russia to ease tensions and supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, the leaders included French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement pledging to work together on a “coordinated and comprehensive approach.”
Speaking this week, a senior administration official claimed that Washington and its European allies have been having “intensive discussions” about what to do collectively in the event of an enormous Russian military rise.
Prior to the US-Russia phone call, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Officials at the highest levels of government have confirmed that Blinken and Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Zelensky before the meeting and that Biden will “consult closely” with Zelensky “in the days following the call.”