Ukraine tensions: Biden and Putin phone call seeks ‘diplomatic path’


US President Joe Biden is set to hold talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for the second time this month, in a bid to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine.

The two leaders will speak by phone on Thursday.

They will discuss forthcoming security talks between the countries and the situation in Europe, said a White House official.

Russia, which has built up forces on the border with Ukraine, denies planning to invade the country.

It says its troops are there for exercises, and that Russia is entitled to move its troops freely on its own soil. The US consulted European leaders ahead of the call to co-ordinate a common response to the issue, said a White House statement.

Ukrainian security officials say more than 100,000 Russian troops have been sent close to their shared border, and the US has threatened Putin with sanction “like none he’s ever seen” if Ukraine comes under attack.

Biden will offer his Russian counterpart a “diplomatic path” but remains “gravely” concerned by the Russian troop build-up on the border, said a US official.

He is expected to tell Putin that the US is prepared to respond if Russia advances with a “a further invasion of Ukraine”.

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