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On Tuesday, President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, following the rise in tensions relating to the display of military aggression by Russian forces along their border with Ukraine.
The White House released a readout of the video call, which was just 145 words in length.
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. held a secure video call today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to discuss a range of issues on the U.S.-Russia agenda. President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the U.S. and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation. President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy. The two presidents tasked their teams to follow up, and the U.S. will do so in close coordination with allies and partners. The presidents also discussed the U.S.-Russia dialogue on Strategic Stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, as well as joint work on regional issues such as Iran.
The two leaders spoke for approximately two hours on Tuesday, with the meeting beginning at 10:07 a.m. ET and ending at 12:08 p.m. ET, according to the White House.
On Monday, Biden spoke with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom on the subject of Russia.
“The leaders discussed their shared concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and Russia’s increasingly harsh rhetoric,” the White House announced in another brief readout. “They called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and agreed that diplomacy, especially through the Normandy Format, is the only way forward to resolve the conflict in Donbas through the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”
“The leaders underscored their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the readout added. “They agreed that their teams will stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a coordinated and comprehensive approach.”
Meanwhile, Moscow has not yet publicly commented on the talks, only publishing a brief statement in Russian on the Kremlin’s website which acknowledged that the meeting took place.
CNN reported that the Biden administration and the Pentagon are readying plans to evacuate Americans from Ukraine if Russia does invade.
“The contingency planning is being led by the Pentagon, the sources said, and comes as the administration briefs Congress on how the US is preparing,” CNN reported. “The discussions are part of planning in the event the security situation severely deteriorates, multiple officials involved in the planning emphasized.”
One source told CNN that the Biden administration does not want to be caught “flat-footed” if the Russians invade.