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Global Times

Biden-Putin video call draws world attention as Ukraine tensions grow

Global Times

By Xu Yelu Published: Dec 05, 2021 07:18 PM

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to speak in a video call Tuesday as tensions between the US and Russia escalate, and observers noted that while the main focus would be Ukraine, it would be hard for Russia and the US to reach a consensus on one occasion.

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.

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 spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said "the presidents will decide themselves" how long their talk will last.

US-Russia relations have been rocky recently. The US accused Russia of deploying military forces along the Ukraine border while Russia accused the US of conducting military activities that threaten regional stability.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US and NATO involvement in Ukraine will have "the most serious consequences," noting that Moscow wants to see "long-term security guarantees" on its Western borders.

The US has not invited Russia to its so-called summit for democracy to be held from December 9 to 10. Peskov said the guest list, released on the US State Department website, showed that Washington "prefers to create new dividing lines, to divide countries into those that - in their opinion - are good, and those that are bad."

"The whole relationship between Russia and the West has come to a very tense moment," Yang Jin, associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. "The possibility of the outbreak of new conflicts in Ukraine is gradually increasing. To manage risks, the US and Russia need to talk," he said.

The tensions between the two major powers have attracted attention from around the globe. Experts noted that for China, contacts between the US and Russia are normal communication. The tensions between the US and Russia are structural and can hardly be alleviated by a summit or a virtual meeting.

"What China needs to do is protect its own people and investment interests in Ukraine," Yang noted. "It is also hoped that the situation in Ukraine remains peaceful and stable, and disputes and conflicts should be resolved within the framework of dialogue and consultation. And it is very important that China should avoid taking sides," he said.

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