Biden to discuss Putin proposals with NATO – Kremlin
American President Joe Biden said that he would confer with NATO about the possibility of providing guarantees about the bloc’s expansion after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a top Kremlin advisor has claimed.
The two leaders spoke on a secure video call on Tuesday to discuss a range of matters, including ongoing tensions over the border between Russia and Ukraine. On Wednesday, Yury Ushakov, a Kremlin foreign policy advisor, told journalists that Biden promised to talk with other NATO leaders about the possibility of the alliance expanding toward Russia, which Moscow has strenuously opposed.
“He said that he will discuss all the concerns from Russia’s side with his allies,” Ushakov said, adding that the presidents agreed to have their representatives meet to deal with the question as soon as possible.
The meeting comes after American intelligence services made a series of claims that they suspected Moscow could soon launch an invasion of its eastern European neighbor, which has long held aspirations to join NATO. The Kremlin has denied that it has any intention to invade, branding the reports “American misinformation,” and has raised concerns about Ukraine’s hopes to join the military alliance.
Such a move could put American troops directly on the border with Russia, and Putin has said that he considers that a “red line.” He has requested a deal guaranteeing in writing that NATO will not expand further east, but Biden dismissed the possibility of such a deal prior to their meeting, saying, “I don’t accept anybody’s red lines.”
When asked on Wednesday whether Russia was planning to move soldiers away from the Ukrainian border, Ushakov replied, “where should we move our troops? They’re in Russian territory.”
He claimed that Putin had made a similar point to Biden during their meeting. According to him, the Russian leader said, “you, Americans, are concerned about our battalions stationed in Russian territory, thousands of kilometers from the US. But we are genuinely worried about danger to Russia in a global sense, on a global scale.”
In a statement on Monday, a US State Department representative emphasized that NATO is meant to be a defensive alliance, saying, “The idea that NATO or an aspirant country like Ukraine could pose a threat to Russia, as Secretary Blinken said last week, would be laughable were the situation not so serious.”