U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak on Thursday, the White House said, as Washington crafts a common response to Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border with European allies.
The two leaders will discuss a range of topics, including upcoming security talks between the countries and a tense situation in Europe, White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement on Wednesday.
The call will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET (2030 GMT), the White House said.Horne said Biden had spoken with leaders across Europe about the situation on the Ukraine border, while Biden administration officials were in touch with NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Moscow has alarmed the West by massing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine in the past two months, following its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and its backing of separatists fighting Kyiv troops in eastern Ukraine.
Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it likes.
Moscow, worried by what it says is the West’s re-arming of Ukraine, has said it wants legally-binding guarantees NATO will not expand further eastwards, and that certain offensive weapons will not be deployed to Ukraine or other neighboring countries.