Home LATEST NEWS Biden and Putin in virtual summit to defuse the crisis around Ukraine

Biden and Putin in virtual summit to defuse the crisis around Ukraine

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The US and Russian presidents saw each other in person in Geneva in June, a meeting deemed encouraging by both sides despite their multiple differences. The context of the videoconference scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. (Washington time) is particularly volatile.

Washington, theNATO and Kiev accuse Moscow of massing troops on the border with Ukraine to attack the country, a reminder of 2014 and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula then the outbreak in eastern Ukraine of an armed conflict by separatists pro-Russian war which left more than 13,000 dead.

In battle dress, Volodymyr Zelensky walks through a snowy woodland with soldiers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent a strong message on Monday when he visited the front line in Donetsk, in the war-torn Donbass region with pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Photo: via reuters

Conversely, for Moscow, the increased activity of the countries ofNATO in the Black Sea, the Ukrainian desire to join the Atlantic Alliance and Kiev’s ambition to arm itself in the West are all threats for Russia, the Kremlin denying any plans to invade Ukraine.

would respond favorably to a demand for an increased military presence in Eastern Europe and would further support the Ukrainian army.

Washington, which appears to rule out a direct military response, would adopt heavy economic sanctions against the Russian regime, which are said to be more painful than those that have piled up to little effect on Russia since 2014.

Speculation is rife around an initiative by Washington to cut Russia off from SWIFT, a vital cog in global finance, which allows banks to circulate money.

We know the American side is addicted to sanctions, quipped the Kremlin spokesman on Tuesday.

Joe Biden at a White House press conference.

Biden and Putin in virtual summit to defuse the crisis around Ukraine

Photo: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Looking for a stable and predictable relationship

Joe Biden, who called Vladimir Putin killer at the start of his term, plays a delicate score. He must cleverly manage the Ukrainian crisis, without further scaring the traditional allies of the United States, already irritated by the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The American president took care to discuss Monday with European leaders, including those of France and Germany, to insist on their determination common to defend Ukrainian sovereignty.

He also intends to report on his meeting with Vladimir Putin to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been annoyed in recent months at the refusal of the West to accelerate Ukraine’s accession to theNATO.

The holding of this virtual summit is in itself a success for Russia, which consolidates its position as an inescapable geopolitical power. The Kremlin had been calling for a Biden-Poutin face-to-face for a few weeks.

Beyond the Ukrainian dossier, other crucial subjects are on the table.

The Russian and American leaders have affirmed since their meeting in Geneva wanting to move forward on issues of common interest to achieve a relationship stable and predictable.

Strategic stability and control of nuclear weapons, computer hacking and cybersecurity, or even Iranian nuclear power. So many subjects that will a priori be debated on Tuesday.

It is clear that when two presidents go towards dialogue, it is because they want to debate the problems and do not aim at deadlock., noted Tuesday Dmitry Peskov.

But don’t expect breakthroughs immediate, he warned, noting that in view of escalating tensions in Europe, it’s important to keep a cool head.

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