Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a telephone conversation today with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, that a new set of sanctions against Russia due to tensions with Ukraine could lead to a “total” breakdown of relations.
“All of this could lead to a complete breakdown of relations between our countries. It would seriously damage relations between Russia and the West,” Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin adviser, told reporters.
This is how Putin reacted “with immediacy” when Biden reminded him, according to the Kremlin, that if the escalation on the border with Ukraine continues, Western countries “will adopt large-scale economic, financial and military sanctions.”
“Mistakes like that have been made not a few in the last 30 years. Therefore, it would be desirable not to make such mistakes given the situation, “he said, adding that future generations of Russians and Americans would pay.
Putin, who already held a telematics summit with Biden on December 7, also insisted on several occasions that Moscow will behave as Washington would behave if someone deployed “offensive weapons near US borders.”
The Kremlin chief was referring to the red line for Ukraine’s entry into NATO, which, according to Putin, would be accompanied by the location 500 kilometers from Moscow of offensive weapons that would threaten the security of his country.
In this regard, according to the Kremlin adviser, Biden assured Putin that the US has no intention of deploying such weapons in Ukraine, which has accused Russia of preparing an invasion in 2022.
However, Ushakov stressed that the Russian side is satisfied with the telephone conversation, as it was “constructive” and “concrete”, and for 50 minutes the issue of security guarantees that Moscow has requested in writing from The US and NATO to reduce the current tension.
Ushakov stressed that Russia is willing to address the concerns of the US and the member countries of the Atlantic Alliance, but recalled that for the Kremlin “the important thing is not the commitment, but the security guarantees that we so much need.”
“The important thing is that the American side demonstrated the desire to understand the logic and the essence of the Russian concerns, ” he said.
The diplomat described the conversation held on New Year’s Eve as an “important political act”.
Putin and Biden agreed that negotiations on security guarantees will take place bilaterally in Geneva on January 10; in Brussels in the framework of the meeting between Russia and NATO, on January 12; and in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on the 13th.
“The negotiation process in Geneva will take place under the personal control of the two presidents,” he said.
In fact, both leaders agreed that if the negotiations are successful they will lead to a normalization of the deteriorated bilateral relations and, in the best of cases, an improvement.
A week ago, during his annual press conference, Putin demanded that the West “immediately” grant security guarantees to Russia and not “bog down” the negotiations for decades.
“Have we put missiles near the US border? No! It is the US that has come to our house with its missiles, and they are already on the threshold,” he said.
In mid-December, Russia published two draft peaceful coexistence treaties and agreements for the US and NATO, respectively.
It asks the US, among other things, to withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe, while NATO renounces all military activity in its backyard, which would include desisting from accepting former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Georgia.