Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand eastward including Ukraine and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden according to the Kremlin.
The Ukrainian Defense Minister said, On Friday, Russia massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, and could prepare for a large-scale invasion at the end of January.
Biden told reporters Friday that his top national security officials are “putting together what I believe will be the most comprehensive set of initiatives.”
Putin blamed the escalating tensions on increased NATO activity near Russia’s borders, including Western support for Ukrainian government forces, which It is fighting Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region.
Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister C. Lavrov was in Stockholm on Thursday to call for a de-escalation. He warned that the US and its allies would “impose dire costs and consequences” – including unprecedented economic sanctions – if Russia took further action.
Lavrov responded by saying that NATO was “playing with fire” with its maneuvers near the border.
NATO had promised Ukraine membership in the alliance in 2008, but refused to set a timetable due to concerns about corruption and the implications of integrating A country previously invaded by Russia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the Kremlin on Wednesday for noting that a threat to a sovereign country like Ukraine is a “provocation”. “Only Ukraine and 30 NATO allies can decide when Ukraine is ready to join NATO,” Stoltenberg said. Russia has no veto, Russia has no say, and Russia has no right to create a sphere of influence to try to control its neighbors.
For his part, a top foreign policy aide to Putin said on Friday that the United States and Russia were finalizing a date Video call with Biden.
In addition to guarantees against NATO’s eastward expansion, Putin will seek an embargo on “weapons systems that would threaten us on the territory of neighboring countries, including Ukraine”.
This will be the second time Biden has spoken with Putin since June, when the two leaders met in Geneva as part of Biden’s push for a more “stable” and “predictable” relationship with Russia.