Biden to hold another call with Putin on Thursday

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

President Biden will hold another phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday amid ongoing tensions with Ukraine and ahead of upcoming discussions on Moscow’s security demands.

National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement that the two leaders will discuss “a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia.”

“The Biden Administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European Allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia’s military build-up on the border with Ukraine,” Horne said.

“President Biden has spoken with leaders across Europe, and Biden Administration officials have engaged multilaterally with NATO, the [European Union], and the [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe],” she continued.

Horne also said officials have held consultations with the Bucharest Nine (B-9) group of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

The call is the second held between the two leaders as fears grow that Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine amid Moscow massing tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border.

Earlier this month, Biden held a two-hour virtual call with Putin, during which he warned that Russia would suffer economic consequences if it invaded Ukraine.

An administration official told CNN, which first reported this week’s call, that Putin requested Thursday’s conversation, which Biden accepted because “he believes when it comes to Russia there is no substitute for direct leader-leader dialogue.”

U.S. and Russian officials are scheduled to speak on Jan. 10 regarding Moscow’s security demands, which were laid out earlier this month. This will be followed by a Jan. 12 meeting of the NATO-Russia council and Jan. 13 meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Permanent Council.

The Biden administration has taken a strategy of showing “close coordination” with Ukraine and its allies and partners.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to a readout of that call, “the two discussed efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia.”