US president backs diplomacy in tensions surrounding Russia and Ukraine.
WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine in a phone call Thursday, according to the White House.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a statement regarding the second call this month between the two leaders, which lasted 50 minutes.
Biden “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” said Psaki.
“President Biden also expressed support for diplomacy, starting early next year with the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation,” she added.
Russia has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border. The move has prompted concerns among NATO allies that Moscow could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
The US and its European allies are accusing Russia of trying to destabilize the country by providing military support to separatist forces in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
The first call between the two leaders took place on Dec. 7.