By Spy Uganda Correspondent
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held a 50-minute phone call on Thursday in an attempt to defuse tension over Moscow’s deployment of troops to the Ukraine border.
While the conversation was described as “businesslike” by both sides, it ended without clarity on Putin’s intentions.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement on the conversation. “President Biden urged Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine. He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” Psaki said.
Biden administration official said the US president had told Putin of “two paths”: One of diplomacy and de-escalation, the other of deterrence “including serious costs and consequences” such as economic sanctions, strengthening NATO’s force posture and military assistance to Ukraine.
Russia warned the US against imposing sanctions;
“Our president immediately responded that if the West decides in this or other circumstances to impose these unprecedented sanctions which have been mentioned then that could lead to a complete breakdown in ties between our countries and cause the most serious damage to relations between Russia and the West. Our president also mentioned that it would be a mistake that our descendants would see as a huge error,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, was quoted as saying.
“During the conversation, Mr. Putin repeatedly accused the United States and NATO nations of placing offensive weapons near Russia’s borders, imperiling the country’s security. It is a charge that Russian officials have made repeatedly in recent times….”