Biden, Putin hold second call this month as US-Russia tensions escalate

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US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their second call this month on Thursday ahead of what US intelligence reports have predicted could be a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The call lasted for about 50 minutes, the White House said.

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On Wednesday, a senior Biden administration official said that Putin requested the call this time around.

Russia has issued a list of demands to be fulfilled, including a pledge that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO. The US has said this is unreasonable while warning, along with the international community, that there would be severe consequences if Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Thousands of Russian troops have been deployed to the border with Ukraine despite Russia denying any intention of a military campaign.

“It remains a continuing source of great concern what the Russians have been putting in place in and around that border area. And we would like to see a reduction in that build-up and the return of forces to their regular training areas or their long-term deployment areas,” the senior US official told reporters on Wednesday.

“I think both leaders believe… that we are in a moment of crisis and have been for some weeks now given the Russian build-up,” the official said.

Another set of security talks is scheduled for Jan. 10 before a Jan. 12 meeting between NATO and Russia. A separate meeting with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be held after that.

Read more: Kremlin says security guarantee talks with NATO make sense for Russia

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