‘Serious’ talk between Joe Biden, Putin sets stage for diplomacy 

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged warnings about Ukraine on Thursday but were hopeful that diplomatic talks in January could ease growing tensions.

In a 50-minute call, in his second conversation this month, Biden said Russia should reduce the size of its military near Ukraine, while Putin said sanctions threatened by Washington and its allies could lead to a breakdown in relations.

“President Joe Biden reiterated that significant progress in these dialogues can only be achieved in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation,” said White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said Cale had created a “good background” for future talks.

A security meeting between the United States and Russia on January 9-10, followed by a Russia-NATO meeting on January 12 and a comprehensive conference, with the exchange of heads of state and government, laid the groundwork for a lower level alliance between the countries. It will be scheduled for January 13 by Moscow, Washington and other European countries.

Despite talks about diplomacy, officials on both sides described the tone of the call as “serious.”

And no country has reported any significant progress towards a solution or agreement.

In Kiev, leaders are concerned about the 60,000 to 90,000 Russian troops gathered in the north, east and south.

Washington was not convinced by the weekend that Russia would withdraw about 10,000 troops, and officials said they saw little evidence of a reduction.

Airspace for the first time earlier this week, although a variety of surveillance aircraft are common in the area.

For his part, Biden reiterated his threat of unprecedented sanctions if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine.

A senior civil servant said, “If the bidder has to go two ways,” there is diplomacy and obstruction, with “serious costs and consequences.”

“Both leaders acknowledged that there are areas where we can make significant progress and areas where agreement is not possible, and that the forthcoming negotiations will define the outline of each of these categories.” “It could completely sever ties between our countries.”

The deployment of Moscow’s troops in the last two months has been a source of concern to the West since Ukraine’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and separatists supporting troops of its choice on its own soil.

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