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Kremlin says President Biden, President Putin to discuss Ukraine crisis next week

A phone call is set for Tuesday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two are looking to discuss increasing tensions along the Russian-Ukrainian border as a Russian buildup of troops appears to the West as a sign of an incoming invasion.

Kmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, confirmed the call on Saturday, indicating it would take place this upcoming Tuesday. A statement issued on Saturday by the White House corroborated the spokesman.

“President Biden will underscore U.S. concerns with Russian military activities on the border with Ukraine and reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” it read.

The Kremlin also added that in addition to Russia’s military buildup, the two leaders would discuss certain bilateral relations as well as the implementation of agreements reached at the Geneva summit that took place last June. 

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleskii Reznikov said on earlier on Friday that Russia has amassed over 94,000 troops near the country’s border, which seemed like a warning to him that they might be preparing for a large-scale military operation at the end of January. The Washington Post reported that day that an unclassified U.S. intelligence document contains satellite photos showing about 70,000 Russian troops in four locations near the Russian-Ukrainian border.  

Biden, while speaking to reporters on Friday, said he has been crafting a set of initiatives to make it “very, very difficult” for Russa to escalate the tensions at its border with Ukraine, as Moscow has been increasing supplies and troops for several weeks.

He added that his administration was “putting together what I believe to be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do. But that’s in play right now.” The president gave no additional information on what those initiatives may entail. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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