Ukraine does not expect any “breakthroughs” after Tuesday’s virtual summit of the US and Russian presidents. It was reported in the Kremlin that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin would raise “the most crisis issues”.
– I would not expect breakthroughs – said Dmytro Kuleba on ICTV. According to the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Putin will hear “very clear signals” from Biden about what Ukraine’s (Western) partners will do in the event of the Russian military operation against Ukraine. – And it will be convincing things – added the minister.
– I think that each side will declare its maximalist vision of the logic of further action, and then different teams will work on the further development of the situation – explained Kułeba. He recalled that after Biden’s conversation with Putin, a telephone conversation between the American president and the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, is planned. On Monday, Zelenskiy spoke with the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken.
Kuleba also informed about the “very fast pace” of work on possible EU sanctions against Russia in the event of an escalation of aggression. He assessed that now “transatlantic unity is working better than in 2014” (when the conflict in Donbas broke out – ed.).
Via video link
On Tuesday, around 4 pm Polish time (it will be 6 pm in Moscow, 10 am in Washington) Biden will have a conversation with Putin via a video link. The conversation will take place against the background of tensions over the past weeks related to the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, and will be the fourth conversation between the two leaders since Biden’s election victory. A conference involving a delegation of both parties via video link will be closed to the press. None of the leaders’ plans include statements for the press after the talks are over.
In the days and weeks leading up to the summit, President Putin and other Kremlin representatives repeatedly stressed that they expected the US to provide specific “long-term security guarantees” and a binding declaration excluding Ukraine’s membership in NATO.
Biden will not accept Russia’s “red lines”
During the conference preceding Tuesday’s meeting, one of the leading representatives of the Biden administration ruled out a change of policy and the adoption of any “red lines” proposed by Russia. He also announced that Biden would clearly warn Putin that the renewed aggression against Ukraine would be associated with high costs due to the sanctions prepared in consultation with allies. He also suggested that in the event of an invasion, the US would strengthen NATO’s eastern flank and support the Ukrainian military.
At the same time, the White House signaled that the subject of the talks would be “mutual concerns”, both Russian regarding NATO’s activities and American concerns about Ukraine. According to the New York Times, the administration is to come up with a diplomatic offer to resolve the dispute, “which appears to be an attempt to alleviate Putin’s alleged fears that Ukraine poses a threat to Russia through too close ties to the West.” At the same time, anonymous representatives of the administration cited by the newspaper doubt the effectiveness of these actions.
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s conversation, the director of the CIA and former US ambassador to Moscow, Bill Burns, visited Moscow, but his warnings were to be ignored. Representatives of the Biden administration, including the head of diplomacy Antony Blinken and the president himself, also held a series of conversations with allies, by agreeing on joint potential sanctions against Russia and by showing joint support for Ukraine. On Monday, Biden held talks with the leaders of Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy, Blinken spoke with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, consulted with his counterparts from NATO countries.
Threat of sanctions
According to the New York Times and Foreign Policy, possible sanctions include Russia’s cut-off from the international SWIFT banking system and other restrictions that could severely harm Russia’s financial system. The NYT reports that efforts to send additional weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, are underway, but that they are to be placed outside Ukraine so as not to give Russia an excuse to invade.
Washington officials have long emphasized that although they do not know if Putin intends to invade Ukraine again, the unprecedented concentration of troops along the entire border with Ukraine for months – combined with a campaign of cyber attacks and disinformation – indicate such intentions. According to the US intelligence assessment made available to the media, Russia intends to gather around 175,000 people around Ukraine’s borders. soldiers.
In addition to the tensions related to the Russian movements, the leaders of Russia and the US are also to raise other topics, which were already started during the June summit in Geneva. It is about talks on arms control, cybersecurity, as well as Iran’s nuclear program and related negotiations.
Kremlin: Biden and Putin will raise “the most crisis issues”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Russian state television on Tuesday that Russian and US presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will raise the most “crisis” issues during a video link.
Among such “crisis” topics is the functioning of the diplomatic missions of both countries, respectively: American ones in Russia and Russian ones in the USA. Peskov announced that “bilateral relations as such” was one of the topics of the presidents’ talks.
According to a Kremlin spokesman, Putin is not planning to propose to the United States to join the Normandy format, i.e. talks about settling the crisis in the Ukrainian Donbas. Peskov said the current format, ie talks with four countries (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine), was “self-sufficient”.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE