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US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin requested phone call with Biden, says senior US administration official

By Reena Bhardwaj | Updated: Dec 30, 2021 01:14 IST

Washington [US], December 30 (ANI): The scheduled phone call between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday was requested by the Russian President, said a senior US administration official on Wednesday.
The telephone call was requested by Putin, and Biden accepted because "he believes when it comes to Russia there is no substitute for direct leader-leader dialogue", according to the official. President Biden will make clear to his Russian counterpart that there is a diplomatic path to de-escalating tensions in the region if only the Russian leader is interested in talking, the senior administration official announced.
"This dialogue should and we expect will proceed on the basis of reciprocity," the administration official further added.
Biden plans to preview the upcoming bilateral talks between the US and Russia set to take place on January 10, the official said, and will also discuss the NATO-Russia and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meetings slated for January 12 and 13.
"President Biden will make clear when he speaks with President Putin that we will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners on all of these matters. And we will proceed on the principle of nothing about them without them," the senior official affirmed.
On Wednesday, the US National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne earlier announced that Biden will hold a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday afternoon "to discuss a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia."
"The Biden Administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European Allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia's military build-up on the border with Ukraine. President Biden has spoken with leaders across Europe, and Biden Administration officials have engaged multilaterally with NATO, the EU, and the OSCE," Horne added in a statement.
Horne also said officials have held consultations with the Bucharest Nine (B-9) group of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
Amid an alarming Russian military buildup on its shared border with Ukraine, the Biden-Putin call is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET, which will be the second direct contact between the two leaders this month.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday spoke to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and reiterated full US support to Ukraine.
"Reiterated full US support for Ukraine in my call with Ukrainian President @ZelenskyyUa. We will continue to consult closely with Ukraine, @NATO Allies, and partners in our diplomatic efforts to deter further Russian aggression," Blinken said in a tweet on Wednesday (local time).

The scheduled phone call between Biden and Putin comes at a time when the US continues to pressure Russia to draw down its large military presence near Ukraine's borders. US intelligence officials have warned Ukraine and its allies that Russia could be planning to launch an attack as soon as January. (ANI)