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Biden, Putin hold virtual summit amid Ukraine tensions Updated: 2021-12-08 17:43:31 KST


Virtual talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have concluded, with the two leaders discussing a wide-range of issues.
The first publicly-known call between the two presidents since July comes as tensions mount over Russia's military buildup near Ukraine.
During Tuesday's two-hour-long meeting, the White House said President Biden voiced deep concern over Moscow's escalation of forces in the region.
Biden also stressed the U.S. and its European allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of a military escalation.
He also reiterated his support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as a return to diplomacy.
U.S. intelligence estimates Russia has mobilized some 175-thousand troops along its border with Ukraine.
President Putin said Russia wants a guarantee the U.S. and NATO won't advance military operations in Ukraine.
Putin has long stressed he wants a guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO, which the Biden administration has already dismissed, noting only NATO members decide when other nations join the alliance.
Ahead of the call, a Kremlin spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that Putin has been keen to maintain good and predictable relations with the U.S.
In addition to Ukraine, the two leaders discussed the U.S.-Russia dialogue on Strategic Stability, the issue of ransomware, as well as cooperation on regional issues, including on Iran.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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