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Presidents Meeting: Biden Makes Ultimatum on Ukraine ‘Invasion,’ Putin Addresses NATO Offensive Against Russia

Dec. 7, 2021 (EIRNS)—In a virtual meeting today that lasted a little over two hours, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held what the Kremlin called a “sincere and business-like” discussion, one which the White House characterized as “direct and straightforward. There was a lot of give-and-take. There was no finger-wagging.” Ukraine was the main issue, following weeks of hyped-up reports in Western media and by the Biden administration that Moscow had massed over 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and was preparing to invade at any moment. Russia had denounced these accusations as “hysteria,” charging that it was NATO that was on the offensive, expanding right up to Russia’s borders and threatening its security and sovereignty. According to the Kremlin readout, President Putin clearly stated that Moscow is “eager to obtain reliable, legally binding guarantees” that NATO will halt its further expansion eastward and “deployment of offensive weapons systems in the countries neighboring Russia.”

This came in response to Biden’s telling Putin of his “concerns” about the alleged invasion plan, massing of troops on the border, and threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty. In a briefing to the media this afternoon, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who sat in on the meeting, reported that Biden warned Putin that should Russia “further invade” Ukraine, the U.S. and “our European allies would respond with strong economic measures,” and would provide additional defensive matériel to the Ukrainians “above and beyond what we’ve already provided, and we would fortify our NATO allies on the Eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.”

Of course, Sullivan said, Biden told Putin “there’s another option—de-escalation and diplomacy.” The U.S. and “our European allies would engage in discussion that covers larger strategic issues, including our strategic concerns with Russia and Russia’s strategic concerns.” During the Cold War and post-Cold War, the U.S. created mechanisms to help reduce instability and increase transparency, so “there’s no reason we can’t do this going forward, provided we’re operating in a context of de-escalation rather than escalation,” Sullivan said. He promised that the U.S. is prepared to advance the Minsk agreements in support of the Normandy Format, which could also include ceasefire and confidence-building measures “to help drive the process forward.”

The entire premise of his geopolitical argument is that Russia is at fault, it is planning an invasion, NATO is not a problem, and Biden is offering Putin an out, if he behaves.  The Russian leader “warned against shifting the responsibility on Russia, since it was NATO that was undertaking dangerous attempts to gain a foothold on Ukrainian territory, and building up its military capabilities along the Russian border.” To Putin’s demand that Russia be given legal guarantees there will be no further NATO expansion, and that Ukraine not be invited to join NATO, Biden responded sorry, “no concessions.” There can be no conditions placed on NATO membership.

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