US President Joe Biden said ‘good to see you again’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call that lasted two hours as fears rose around Russia possibly invading Ukraine.
The Kremlin released photos and a brief video of the two leaders’ Tuesday meeting, which was closed to the media.
Putin, sitting at a long wooden desk, started by saying, ‘Greetings, Mr. President!’
‘Good to see you again,’ Biden replied in a friendly tone, as seen on a screen in front of Putin. ‘Unfortunately last time we didn’t get to see one another at the G20. I am hoping next time we meet we do it in person.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) held talks with US President Joe Biden (left) via videoconference at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia (Picture: EPA)
The leaders spoke through video-link from 10.07am ET until 12.08pm ET, according to the White House. Biden was in the White House, while Putin was in his residence in Sochi, a Russian resort city by the Black Sea.
Their conversation took place as tens of thousands of Russian troops congregated at the border with Ukraine in a clash with Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists.
Earlier, the White House said that Biden would ‘reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine’.
Before the call, a senior administration official told reporters: ‘We believe that we have a path forward that would involve substantial economic countermeasures by both the Europeans and the United States that would impose significant and severe economic harm on the Russian economy should they choose to proceed.’
The White House has not provided a readout of the call. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is expected to provide details of the talk during a news briefing in the afternoon.
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