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Biden, Putin Plan Call at What U.S. Says Is a ‘Moment of Crisis’ Over Ukraine

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin made plans to talk on Thursday ahead of high-level negotiations designed to deal with crisis over Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine. The call was reportedly requested by Russia, according to a senior official in the Biden administration. Moscow has been pressing the US to rule out the possibility of an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to include Ukraine and Georgia. Moscow has also called for the alliance to cut military ties with Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet republics. Following weeks of diplomacy, the talks were scheduled for January 10 in Geneva. Despite the plans, the Russian military has continued to maintain a strong military presence near Ukraine.

Senior US officials have called the current situation a crisis due to the extreme military buildup by Russia at the border. The Biden administration has stated that it sees value in leader-to-leader talks in preventing such crises from building into conflict. The US is currently seeking a path of de-escalation during the talks. Some former officials view the talks scheduled for Thursday as part of a broader plan on behalf of Russia to rewrite the terms of post Cold War security arrangements in Europe, perhaps to establish a sphere of influence in the region again.

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