Ahead of his first direct talks with Putin since July, Biden consulted European allies on Monday to discuss sanctions plans against Russia and seek a strong allied position in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
They called on Russia to defuse tensions and return to diplomacy and said their teams would remain in close contact, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a “coordinated approach. and global, ”the White House said.
Biden’s team has identified a set of economic sanctions to be imposed if Russia launches an invasion, a senior official in the Biden administration has said.
A separate source familiar with the situation said targeting Putin’s inner circle had been discussed but no decision had been made. Sanctions against Russia’s biggest banks and the possibility of converting rubles into dollars and other currencies were also being considered, another source said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was still not clear whether Putin made the final decision to invade Ukraine.
The secure video call, with Biden speaking from the White House situation room, is scheduled to take place around 10 a.m. ET.
Ukraine and the NATO powers accuse Russia of building up troops near the border, raising fears of a possible attack. Moscow denies any such plan and accuses Kiev of building up its own forces in its east, where Russia-backed separatists control much of Ukrainian territory.
Senior administration official Biden said Biden would warn Putin of tough economic sanctions if he started a war.
The United States urged the two countries to return to a package of agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 aimed at ending a Russian-speaking separatist war in eastern Ukraine.
WATCH | The United States warns of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine:
“It will make it clear that there will be very real costs if Russia chooses to move forward, but it will also indicate that there is an effective diplomatic path,” the official told reporters.
Russia claims creeping NATO expansion
The two leaders approach the talks with little room for compromise.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said discussions would focus on what Russia sees as NATO’s creeping expansion towards its borders, as well as long-term security guarantees for Russia.
Putin has said he wants legally binding guarantees that NATO will not expand further east and a commitment that certain types of weapons will not be deployed in countries close to Russia, including Ukraine. .
Putin is also expected to raise the possibility of holding another US-Russian summit with Biden. They last spoke by phone in July and the men met in person at a summit in June in Geneva.
” Sure [the agenda] it is bilateral relations, which remain in a rather dismal state, ”Peskov told reporters. “And then these are the questions that occupy an important place on the agenda. Mainly the tensions around Ukraine, the theme of NATO’s advance towards our borders and President Putin’s initiative on security guarantees. “
International tensions have continued to rise in Ukraine and the Black Sea region. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday that it had sent fighter jets to escort two US military reconnaissance planes over the Black Sea.
On Monday, US General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met virtually all NATO Chiefs of Staff to discuss “important security developments across Europe”.
At the United Nations, spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters on Monday that the meeting between Biden and Putin “is extremely important, given the current context of what we are seeing happening in many parts of the world.”