US President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy about the situation around Ukraine. The White House said the American leader stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine. “Leaders called on Russia to de-escalate tensions,” the press release said. The conversation was part of Biden’s consultations with European allies ahead of Tuesday’s virtual summit with Vladimir Putin.
US President Joe Biden discussed the situation around Ukraine with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The White House communiqué said that “leaders discussed common concerns about the concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Russia.” “They called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and agreed that diplomacy, especially in the Normandy format, is the only way to resolve the conflict in Donbas through the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” it said. Washington added that all leaders stressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and committed to further consultations and coordination with NATO and EU allies.
A spokesman for the British Prime Minister said the leaders stressed the need to create a united front in the face of Russian threats and hostility. “Leaders called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and reaffirmed their steadfast support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” he said.
The conversation of the five leaders was part of Biden’s consultations with European allies before talks with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Zelenskiy spoke to Blinken. “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”
Earlier, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, held a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he was to agree with the leader on “the need for a peaceful diplomatic solution to the conflict in Donbas and the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over its borders, including Crimea.”
Zelenskiy himself said on Twitter that he had agreed on the position of the US and Ukraine before the Biden-Putin talks and expressed his gratitude for America’s support. “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” he added.
A representative of the Biden administration announced that the American president would also hold a conversation with Zelensky in the coming days. He also suggested that, contrary to Moscow’s demands, the United States would not accept Russia’s “red lines” and would not change its policy regarding Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO.
CIA Director: I would not underestimate Putin’s risk appetite
CIA director William Burns said on Monday that although Putin’s intentions are unclear, he would never underestimate the Russian leader’s “risk appetite”. “What we do know is that it puts the Russian military, the Russian security forces, in a place where they can act quite decisively,” Burns said at a meeting hosted by the Wall Street Journal.
Russia’s accumulation of troops near the border with Ukraine raises serious concerns in both Ukraine and the West that Russia may launch an armed invasion. The issue of the Russian threats is to be raised during Biden’s video conversation with Putin. It will probably also be one of the main topics of talks during the meeting of the G7 foreign ministers, which will start in Liverpool on Friday.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT