Biden, Putin set video call on Tuesday

Biden, Putin set video call on Tuesday

Moscow: Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call on Tuesday, the White House and Kremlin said, as tensions between the United States and Russia escalate over a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border that is seen as a sign of a potential invasion.

Biden will press US concerns about Russian military activities on the border and reaffirm the United States' support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Saturday, confirming the planned call after first word came from Moscow.

Putin will come to the call with concerns of his own and intends to express Russia's opposition to any move to admit Ukraine into the NATO military alliance. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "the presidents will decide themselves how long their talk will last.

The last known call between the leaders was in July, when Biden pressed Putin to rein in Russia-based criminal hacking gangs launching ransomware attacks against the United States. Biden said the US would take any necessary steps to protect critical infrastructure from such attacks.

Ransomware attacks have continued since then, though perhaps none has been as alarming as the one from May that targeted a major fuel pipeline and resulted in days of gas shortages in parts of the US. Russia is more adamant than ever that the US guarantees that Ukraine will not be admitted to the NATO military alliance. But NATO's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said this past week that Russia has no say in expansion plans by other countries or the alliance.

Numerous former US and NATO diplomats say any such Russian demand to Biden would be a nonstarter.

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