Biden, Putin to hold second call this month as Ukraine tensions simmer


U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to speak for the second time this month on Thursday, with rising tensions over Ukraine topping the agenda.

The call, which the White House said was requested by Putin, is scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. ET (2030 GMT).

Moscow has alarmed the West by massing tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine in the past two months, following its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and its backing of separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it likes.

Officials have said the leaders will discuss a range of topics, including upcoming security talks next month, the tense situation in Europe, and ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

Both the White House and the Kremlin are expected to provide their summaries of the call after it takes place.

Moscow, worried by what it says is the West’s re-arming of Ukraine, has said it wants legally-binding guarantees NATO will not expand further eastwards, and that certain offensive weapons will not be deployed to Ukraine or other neighboring countries.