Biden tells Putin that the United States and its allies will respond “decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine

President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call Thursday that the United States and its allies will respond “decisively” if Ukraine is invaded, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. A senior administration official said Mr Biden and Putin agreed to a “sequence of strategic stability dialogue”.

The call comes as Russia has built up troop levels along the border with Ukraine, and the US intelligence service has warned that Russia may invade Ukraine as early as January.

Meanwhile, a US official confirmed to CBS News that a US spy plane flew a mission over Ukraine on Thursday. The flight was with a JSTARS aircraft, which is a radar aircraft specially designed to track movements on the ground.

The senior administration official said Mr Biden paved two paths, one focused on democracy and the other focused on deterrence and “significant costs and consequences if Russia chooses to continue with further invasion of Ukraine.”

President Biden talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Adam Schultz / AP

The senior official of the administration said that the tone of Mr. Biden’s call to Putin was “serious and substantial,” and its primary purpose was to set the “tone and sense of diplomatic engagement” scheduled for next month. The upcoming talks will help “determine more precisely the contours” of the areas where there may be agreement between the two leaders, the official said.

Sir. Biden called on Putin to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine, and the official said the US focus is “really on actions and on indicators, not on words” and will continue to prepare for any decision Putin makes regarding Ukraine.

The United States will continue a “very intensive period of consultations” with allies over the next week before the negotiations between NATO and Russia, the senior administration official said.

“There will be a very careful and very intensive coordination transparency among our partners and allies,” the official said.

Russia has built up an estimated 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Despite recent reports that the Russians have withdrawn 10,000 troops from the area, the senior administration official said the White House is “very concerned” about the still “significant Russian troops’ presence” along the border.

CBS News has reported that the 10,000 withdrawn troops are only a fraction of the number still left at the border.

David Martin, Fin Gomez and Fritz Farrow contributed to this report.


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