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Putin prevents Biden from forgetting about Russia and focusing on China

08.12.2021
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According to M. Episkopos

 


President Joe Biden held a virtual two-hour summit on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid mounting military tensions over Ukraine. While the Biden administration has sought to focus on China rather than Russia, Putin has been adept at ensuring that Moscow remains a central player in world politics. The summit was a powerful sign of the Kremlin's influence.

“Greetings, Mr. President!” Putin reportedly said at the start of the conversation. “Nice to see you again,” Biden replied. “Unfortunately, last time we did not see each other at the G20. I hope that next time we meet, we will do it in person. "

According to a White House statement, Biden "expressed deep concern for the United States and its European allies about Russia's escalation of forces around Ukraine and made it clear that the United States and its allies would respond with decisive economic and other measures in the event of a military escalation." The US President "reaffirmed his support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy."

According to earlier statements by Putin's foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov, the Russian president intended to pressure his American counterpart to obtain "legal guarantees" against NATO's eastward expansion and the deployment of western military infrastructure in Ukraine.

While the Ukraine crisis was reportedly at the center of the call, the White House noted that discussions also included “a US-Russian dialogue on strategic stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, and working together on regional issues such as Iran. These are questions that Biden would rather focus on. But Putin, by concentrating Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, is raising the question of Kiev's future and dictating his agenda.

 

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