Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden could soon hold a second round of talks, the Kremlin has revealed, after the two leaders held negotiations over key topics, including Ukraine and NATO.
Speaking as part of a conversation with Channel 5 on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “they have agreed that if the representatives manage to communicate productively, then it will be necessary to talk again.” However, this is most likely to be a remote interaction, he said.
Peskov’s comments come after the pair hosted a two-hour call via a secure video link on Tuesday, which was said to be a “frank and businesslike” discussion.
According to a readout of the call from the Kremlin, Moscow said that it is “seriously interested” in obtaining “reliable and firm legal guarantees” ruling out NATO’s expansion further eastwards and the deployment of “offensive strike weapons systems in countries adjacent to Russia.”
Putin’s proposal came in response to Biden’s “concerns” about Russian troops allegedly threatening Ukraine. However, the Russian leader insisted that it was the US-led military bloc “making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory” and “building up its military potential at our borders.”
The meeting came after Ukraine’s intelligence service and Western officials issued several warnings in recent weeks that Moscow could soon invade its neighbor. The Kremlin has consistently rejected the allegations and has expressed unease over the eastern European nation potentially joining NATO.
Last week, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the widening of the US-led military bloc further eastwards is a red line for Moscow, and Kiev’s possible accession into it is unacceptable.
According to her, the US is pulling Kiev into NATO’s military orbit and turning it into a ”bridgehead” of confrontation with Russia – a move which could destabilize Europe.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also raised similar fears, claiming that the West encourages Kiev to take anti-Russian actions and said that his country “will take all necessary steps to ensure our security.”