Live updates on Biden and Putin’s virtual summit | News Today

Live updates on Biden and Putin’s virtual summit

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Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

President Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday morning as part of a high-stakes diplomatic effort to defuse a crisis over Ukraine as tens of thousands of Russian soldiers gather along the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion.

During a videoconference scheduled for 10 am, the White House said Mr. Biden “will reaffirm United States support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The virtual meeting is a crucial test for Mr Biden, as he tries to protect a democratic ally whom US security officials have vowed to defend and avert a major European security crisis.

Mr. Putin complained that Ukraine poses a threat to Russia through its relations with the United States and European powers.

But Mr. Biden’s options are limited. He has no desire to send American troops into combat on behalf of Ukraine. Instead, Mr Biden will warn Mr Putin of the potentially serious economic consequences, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on Monday. The official did not give details, but analysts say a full-blown invasion could trigger a U.S. decision to cut Russia off from the international financial system, a drastic measure reserved for extreme cases.

It is unclear, however, whether such warnings will deter the Russian president, who has resisted years of Western sanctions for past acts of aggression, including Mr. Putin’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and its long-standing support for a pro-Russian separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Many analysts say the fate of Ukraine matters far more to Mr Putin, who often speaks of the former Soviet republic’s historical and ethnic ties to Russia, than to the Biden administration, whose stated goal is been to establish a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.

But Mr Putin, who sounded similar alarms with a deployment near Ukraine this spring, has once again captured the attention of officials in Washington. And he will come to Tuesday’s meeting with his own demands, including his insistence that NATO give up the possibility of making Ukraine a member of the alliance. US and NATO leaders retorted that Moscow cannot dictate the foreign policy choices of other nations.

US officials believe Mr. Putin has not decided to invade Ukraine. But the United States has leaked information showing that the Russian military has devised a war plan that envisions up to 175,000 troops flocking across the Ukrainian border – an invading force than the Ukrainian military, despite the equipment and training provided by the United States, would have little ability to stop.

Even if he’s not planning to invade, Mr Putin can bet that Mr Biden’s preoccupation with issues like the coronavirus and competition with China will make him inclined to strike a deal.

“Seen from Moscow, it seems that the Kremlin’s key objective in the current crisis is not to inflict a humiliating defeat on Kiev or take on the unsavory task of occupying Ukraine,” Maxim Samorukov wrote. , a member of the Carnegie Moscow Center, in an analysis released on Monday.

“Rather, it’s about persuading the West that Russia is ready to start a full-scale war against Ukraine unless something is done about the current situation and (at least in Putin’s eyes) totally unacceptable “, added Mr Samorukov.

To complicate matters for Mr Biden, uncertainty within European countries, whose economies risk suffering from broken relations with Russia, over how to handle Mr Putin’s new threats. The Biden administration has negotiated with European leaders in a unification effort around the sanctions that could be imposed on Russia for any further aggression.

Mr Biden was also due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – a sign of American solidarity with the Ukrainian leader, whom Mr Biden urged to take stronger action against his country’s endemic corruption.

Biden officials said the appeal with Mr Putin, like the meeting the two leaders held in Geneva in June, would cover several other issues, including nuclear weapons control, cybersecurity and Iran’s nuclear program.

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