The Kremlin said Friday that it has a tentative date for virtual talks between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin that will take place in the coming days and is waiting on confirmation from the US.
“We are working on a possible contact between Putin and Biden in the videoconference format. This contact is to take place within days. We have a concrete date and time for this videoconference. But it is better to wait until all its parameters are agreed with the US side and then we will be able to announce it officially,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm on Thursday to discuss Ukraine tensions. The diplomats made little progress, but Blinken said they agreed on new Biden-Putin talks in the “near future.”
Ushakov said the talks would build on the Biden-Putin summit that took place in Geneva back in June. The leaders are expected to discuss several issues, including Ukraine and NATO’s presence near Russia’s borders.
Putin will seek guarantees from Biden and NATO that the military alliance would not move further eastward or deploy weapons that threaten Russia near the country’s borders, including Ukraine. Ushakov pointed out that the US had given assurances NATO wouldn’t expand towards Russia at the end of the Cold War.
“It is a very old issue. Both the Soviet Union and Russia were given verbal assurances that NATO’s military structures would not advance eastward. However, it turned out that those verbal assurances were worthless,” he said.
Since the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO has grown from 16 member states to 30. The military alliance has also waged wars of aggression across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans.