The Kremlin has said it plans to start a “strategic security discussion on the continent” with the United States after high-stakes talks between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that the two leaders had agreed to appoint representatives “who will quickly begin a discussion on this complex and conflicting situation.”
Biden and Putin would speak again once lower-level talks took place, but it was “impossible to say” when that would be the case, he said.
Biden and Putin appeared to make little progress at their virtual summit on Tuesday, exchanging accusations over Russian military build-up near Ukraine and the potential for further economic sanctions against Moscow.
The United States has not indicated that it is ready to conduct the same negotiations the Kremlin wants.
But the Kremlin statement indicates that Russia is not yet abandoning talks, while leaving around 100,000 troops within striking distance of Ukraine.
« #Putin–#Biden the video call was useful, ”wrote Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow. “It is essential to recognize each other’s security concerns. Channel alarm clock activated [Ukraine] can help avoid misunderstandings… Fears of war in the west will not subside just yet, but jaw to jaw is better than war war.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “the contact itself serves [as] deterrence and de-escalation, ”Reuters reported. “We appreciate the crucial diplomatic engagement of the United States in efforts to bring Russia back to the negotiating table. ”
Biden is due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday.
Russia and the United States have each given vague confirmations for new talks, but the exact subject of those talks and when they would take place remain unclear.
Russia has said it wants “legal guarantees” to limit any further NATO expansion eastward and the placement of missile systems in Ukraine or other countries bordering Russia. This would indicate that Moscow is seeking a new treaty with the alliance, which is likely to anger some members.
Russia has also asked Biden to force Ukraine to open direct talks with Russian-backed separatists, which is not the case in Kiev.
The White House wants Russia to reduce the threat of an invasion as a condition of the talks, and Biden has warned the Kremlin of specific sanctions that could result from a new Russian offensive in Ukraine. The United States and Ukraine fear that Moscow is planning an operation starting in late January.
The two leaders spoke by video conference for more than two hours, a format appreciated by Putin, Peskov said.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said: “The discussion between President Biden and President Putin was straightforward and straightforward. There was a lot of give and take, there was no fuss. But the president has been very clear about the United States’ position on all of these issues. “
After the call, Biden spoke with leaders in the UK, Germany, France and Italy by conference call. The president had consulted with them on Monday, and the White House said they had agreed to “stay in close contact on a coordinated and comprehensive approach in response to Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders.”