A day after holding virtual talks with President Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will continue dialogue with Washington over Ukraine and the issue of NATO’s eastward expansion.
Putin told reporters Wednesday that his over two-hour meeting with Biden was “open, substantive and constructive.” He said Russia will send proposals to Washington over the security situation in the region as soon as next week.
Putin has said that he wants guarantees that NATO wouldn’t expand further eastward or let Ukraine join the military alliance. “We cannot help but be concerned about the prospects of Ukraine possibly joining NATO because this would undoubtedly be followed by the placement of relevant military contingents, bases, and weapons threatening us,” he said.
The Russian leader has dismissed the idea that Russia might invade Ukraine as a “provocative” suggestion. Since October, US officials and media outlets have been claiming that Putin is planning an invasion. But on Monday, CIA Director William Burns said US intelligence agencies haven’t concluded that Russia has decided to launch an offensive into Ukraine.
Ukraine on Wednesday welcomed the talks between Biden and Putin. “The contact itself serves [as] deterrence and de-escalation,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Reuters. “We appreciate the crucial diplomatic engagement of the US in efforts to bring Russia back to the table of negotiations.”
Also on Wednesday, President Biden said the idea of sending US troops to Ukraine if Russia invades is “not on the table.” During Tuesday’s talks, Biden told Putin if he invades, the US would impose harsh sanctions, send more US troops to NATO’s “eastern flank,” and give Kyiv more weapons.