News ID: 319096
Published: 0414 GMT December 31, 2021

Putin tells Biden new sanctions over Ukraine could rupture ties

Putin tells Biden new sanctions over Ukraine could rupture ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his US counterpart Joe Biden that imposing new sanctions over Ukraine could lead to a complete breakdown in relations.

In a phone call late on Thursday, Putin said such sanctions would be a "colossal mistake".

Biden, meanwhile, told Putin that the US and its allies would respond decisively to any invasion of Ukraine, BBC reported.

The call, requested by Russia, was the pair's second such conversation this month and lasted for almost an hour. It marked the latest effort to defuse tensions over Ukraine's eastern border with Russia, where Ukrainian officials say more than 100,000 Russian troops have been sent.

The build-up has prompted concern in the West, with the US threatening Putin with sanctions "like none he's ever seen" if Ukraine comes under attack.

Russia, however, denies it is planning to invade the country and says the troops are there for exercises. Moscow says it is entitled to move its troops freely on its own soil.

Although the two sides exchanged warnings during the call, Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters shortly after that Putin was "pleased" with the conversation.

He added that it had created a "good backdrop" for future talks.

A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tone had been "serious and substantive".

"President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of de-escalation," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine," she added.

US and Russian officials are set to meet for in-person talks in Geneva next month, and the White House said Biden urged his Russian counterpart to pursue a diplomatic solution.

In a holiday message before Thursday's call, Putin told Biden he was "convinced" the pair could work together based on "mutual respect and consideration of each other's national interests".

His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Moscow was "in the mood for a conversation".

"We believe that only through talks it is possible to solve all the immediate problems that we have in abundance between us," Peskov added.




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