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Negotiations between Biden and Putin took place: what topics were discussed

Videoconferencing between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden lasted two hours, reports RBC.

Photo: official website of the President of Russia

The video meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden ended, the leaders talked for a little over two hours.

The meeting began at 10:07 am ET and ended at 12:08 pm, according to the White House. During the talks, Putin was in Sochi, and Biden was in Washington. The conversation took place behind closed doors via a secure video link.

Live broadcast only showed the beginning of the meeting, where the two leaders greet each other.

Biden, after the greeting, expressed regret that he and Putin could not meet at the G20 summit in Rome (where the Russian president did not go), and said that he hoped to talk to his Russian counterpart next time at the GXNUMX summit.

There are no details yet about what the heads of the two states discussed.

But according to press release of the White HousePresident Biden expressed deep concern for the United States and European allies about Russia's escalation of forces around Ukraine and “made it clear that the United States and its allies will respond with decisive economic and other measures in the event of a military escalation.”

Biden reaffirmed his support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.

Both Biden and Putin made their goals very clear a few days before the talks.

But so far, these positions look rather like diametrically opposite, according to with the BBC.

As Putin has repeatedly stated, although the issue of Ukraine’s joining NATO is not on the agenda now, Moscow views the “military development” of the territory of a neighboring state by the alliance countries as an unacceptable “red line” for itself.

The western allies of Ukraine, against the background of reports of a military invasion by Russia, are increasing the supply of military aid to Kiev, thereby crossing this “red line” from the Kremlin’s point of view.

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President Biden, in turn, made it clear at a briefing on December 3 that he was working on a whole list of steps and measures that would make an invasion of a neighboring country too expensive for Russia.

“I am in constant contact with our allies in Europe, with the Ukrainians. I am now compiling what I believe will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very difficult for Putin what people fear he might do, ”Joe Biden said.

"War" in the media

The topic of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine's territory appeared in the American media in October - and since then, almost every week, various publications, citing sources in the American intelligence community, have written about the Kremlin's aggressive plans.

First, the Washington Post reported about the transfer of Russian troops to the border, a couple of days later, satellite images of the transferred troops were published by Politico, the Bloomberg agency reported on the largest call for reservists since Soviet times, allegedly in Russia.

But none of the journalists could find evidence that something like this actually happened.

It is noteworthy that the first couple of weeks, while the topic of a possible war lived only in the American media, officials in Kiev were in no hurry to make any alarming statements, stressing that they did not see anything special at their borders compared to 2016 or 2018. ...

But when not only journalists began to talk about the danger of a possible invasion, but also almost on a daily basis, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Ukraine's position changed.

Almost all of the major Ukrainian security officials visited Washington, after which the Ukrainian leadership began to say that it was also concerned about the Kremlin's possible aggressive plans.

It finally became clear that the United States seriously believed in the possibility of an imminent big war and intended to actively negotiate with Moscow on this matter when CIA Director William Burns arrived in Russia on an unannounced visit.

A difficult discussion on the Ukrainian issue also took place on December 1 between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their talks in Stockholm. According to Bloomberg, at an informal dinner after the talks, Lavrov once again announced that a coup d'etat had taken place in Kiev in 2014, and the secretary of state reminded him in response that the coup was preceded by the execution of almost a hundred people by security officials loyal to Viktor Yanukovych.

At the same time, as the British Financial Times wrote on December 6, many European allies of the United States at first also reacted with suspicion to the first publications about Russia's aggressive plans towards Ukraine.

“Many allies were not convinced that serious things were happening,” said one of the newspaper’s interlocutors. "We were surprised by this intelligence difference - how and why the US saw what we do not see."

According to the newspaper, Washington had to go to an unusually wide disclosure of intelligence data in order to convince allies in Europe that the threat really exists.

It is not known if this is related to the processes described by the Financial Times, but on December 4, the German tabloid Bild published an impressive infographic with a plan for a possible Russian invasion, from which it could be concluded that Putin plans to occupy not only the southeastern regions of Ukraine, but almost two-thirds the territory of a neighboring country. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the publication propaganda.

What they say in Russia

The position of Russian officials has also undergone certain changes in more than a month since the first alarming publications in the American press.

After the first publications in the Washington Post and Politico, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov denied the very fact of any troop transfer, called the work of American journalists "poor-quality stuffing" - and even delved into geography, pointing out that the city of Yelnya, about the concentration of Russian troops wrote foreign publications, is closer to Belarus than to Ukraine.

The Kremlin spokesman argued that these publications are "empty, unreasonable escalation of tension" and that Russia poses no threat to anyone. In an interview with Rossiya 24, Putin himself called the publications of American publications “alarmist”.

But over time, the rhetoric has changed.

The position of all Russian officials now boils down to the fact that if the troops are being transferred, then this is happening on the territory of Russia, that is, it is an absolutely internal Russian matter that does not threaten any of the neighbors. “We have the right to move troops on our territory, but there is no talk of any kind of escalation,” said, for example, the aide to the President of Russia, Yuri Ushakov.

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At the same time, in Moscow, on the contrary, they started talking about the fact that Ukraine is preparing to attack the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR and allegedly has already pulled almost half of its army to the demarcation line in Donbass, having formed a strike group of up to 125 thousand people there.

"There is a military pumping of Ukraine, which fuels Kiev's mood to sabotage the Minsk agreements, feeds the illusion of a military solution to the conflict," Lavrov says.

Having gone in a month from a complete denial of the possibility of a new conflict to statements about an impending attack by the Ukrainian army on the self-proclaimed republics, which, if you follow Kremlin logic, may be followed by some kind of Moscow intervention in the conflict, Russia on December 1 has already begun official maneuvers in the Southern Military District with the participation of 10 thousand military personnel.

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