Biden Offers Putin US-Russian Summit Meeting ‘in Third Country’ in Phone Call over Ukraine War Escalation
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on Tuesday, seemingly focused on the escalation in the ongoing war in Ukraine, with the American leader proposing a bilateral summit meeting “in a third country,” the White House revealed.
According to the sounding of the White House release, Biden issued several warnings to Putin, including Russia’s cyber encroachments and election meddling as well as the reported Russian military buildup along its borders with Ukraine.
At the same time, however, the release ends precisely with the US President’s proposal for top-level diplomatic talks.
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. They discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty,” the White House said.
“President Biden also made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference,” it added.
The press service of the US Presidency then emphasized Biden’s stance on the situation in Ukraine and the Donbass region war in Eastern Ukraine, which has been raging on since 2014.
“President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions,” the White House said.
It concluded with the US President’s self-styled “goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia.”
“President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia,” the concluded the White House readout of the Biden – Putin telephone call.
Relations between the United States and Russia on the highest level have been especially tense since in mid-March 2021, the new US President Joe Biden stated in a TV interview he believed Russian leader Putin was a “killer”. The comment lead Moscow to recall its ambassador to the US.
On Monday, a Russian analyst forecast that the United States would not intervene militarily in a flare-up of the Donbass War in Ukraine but would likely stage “provocations” against Russia’s ownership of the Crimean Peninsula.
In the past few days, Ukraine has alarmed the West about what it says is a giant military buildup by Russia on Ukrainian border near Donbass and in the Crimean Peninsula. The buildup of Russian forces has been seen as deeply worrying in the West and has caused fears of a full-fledged Russian military incursion in Ukraine.
In the winter of 2013-2014, the Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, and promised to bring Ukraine closer to the West, including through EU and N ATO membership.
In response, led by President Vladimir Putin, in February – March 2014, Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea, and then declared itself part of its territory after holding a referendum.
The Russian Federation, alongside the United States and Britain, was supposed to be a guarantor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for Ukraine’s giving up of the nuclear weapon stockpile it had inherited from the former Soviet Union.
However, Russian leader Putin has rejected accusations that Moscow had violated the Budapest Memorandum by seizing Crimea from Ukraine. Instead, he has argued that it had been the West, respectively the US and the UK, who had violated the memorandum first by carrying out a “regime change” coup in Kyiv. Moscow has made it clear it perceived the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine as a plot of Western intelligence services, rather than the result of a popular protest uprising.
Shortly after Russia’s seizure of Crimea, a pro-Russian insurgency likely supported by Moscow began in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine.
Since then, the war in Ukraine has claimed some 14,000 lives, according to conservative estimates, and has displaced millions of people.
The US, the EU, and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia over both the annexation of the Crimea and the insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbass which the West deems to be instigated and supported by Moscow.
Ivan Dikov, the founder of HeartlandHinterland.com, is the author of the book “Got Nukes, Mr. Dictator? You Hold on to Them!“, among other books.