Putin and Biden will try to smooth things over in a virtual date focused on Ukraine

Putin and Biden will try to smooth things over in a virtual date focused on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will hold a long-awaited virtual summit today that will focus on rising tensions around Ukraine as the West fears a large-scale Russian attack on its neighbor. this winter. “We believe it will be a long and substantial video conference,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said yesterday.

This is the second summit between Putin and Biden this year after the two met last June in Geneva, where they agreed to initiate a dialogue on cybersecurity, resume talks on strategic stability and control of nuclear weapons, and remove obstacles to work. of the legations in the US and Russia.

PESKOV EXPLAINED

Peskov explained that both leaders will analyze “compliance with the agreement” in the Swiss city to see if some of the issues need more attention than others.

UKRAINE

Ukraine will be one of the main topics of discussion between the two leaders, the Kremlin confirmed yesterday. Alarms in the West soared after reports in the US press early last month about a concentration of tens of thousands of Tuscan troops on the border with Ukraine. According to US intelligence, the possible attack on Ukraine, which he estimates for early 2022, “would involve up to 175,000 troops.”

Ukraine’s intelligence services calculate that Russia currently accumulates more than 94,000 soldiers on the country’s borders and considers that the most likely moment of an eventual attack would be at the end of January 2022.

While the US president will make it clear to his Russian counterpart that he better think twice before attacking Ukraine, Putin wants to put his proposal to Biden that there are legally binding guarantees that NATO does not expand further into Russia and that it does not deployment of “threatening weapons” on Ukrainian territory. For Putin, that is a red line that would have consequences, as he himself said last week.

Moscow wants to turn the Western discourse around and accuses Ukraine of wanting to regain the Donbas by force, where the Ukrainian Army and pro-Russian separatists have clashed since 2014 and where Russia has distributed more than 600,000 passports.

In addition to Ukraine, both leaders will talk about the battered bilateral relations, the situation around Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and Syria, as well as the pandemic and the climate.

UKRAINE TRUSTS ITS TROOPS

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

In this context, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, assured yesterday that the Ukrainian Army is capable of aborting “any invasion plan of the enemy”, alluding to the concentration of Russian troops on the border. “During its most recent history, the Ukrainian army has gone through a difficult path towards the formation of a prepared, highly organized military structure, secure in its own forces and capable of aborting any invading enemy plan,” said President Zelenski, who carried out these statements on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after its independence from the Soviet Union.

It also paid tribute to the soldiers who have defended the country’s territorial integrity in recent years, the scene since 2014 of a conflict with pro-Russian militias in Donbas, which has left more than 14,000 dead. “I am sure that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will continue to reliably defend the freedom and independence of our state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy yesterday began its winter exercises over the Black Sea with overflights of more than 20 aircraft and helicopters. The pilots of the Russian Black Sea Fleet practiced the tracking of warships of hypothetical enemies and attacks with missiles against naval targets, according to the official TASS agency.

The exercises come at a time when Russia is complaining about the increasing presence of US and NATO destroyers in the Black Sea.

Ben Oakley
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