This combination of pictures created on March 17, 2021 shows US President Joe Biden (left) during remarks on the implementation of the American Rescue Plan in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 15, 2021, and Russian President Vladimir Putin as he and his Turkish counterpart hold a joint press statement following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 5, 2020. (PAVEL GOLOVKIN, ERIC BARADAT / AFP / POOL)
WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on Russia to deescalate its tensions with Ukraine in his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House said.
The president voiced concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in Crimea and on Ukraine's borders, and called on Russia to deescalate tensions, the White House said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement of the tensions in the Donbass region based on the Minsk agreements
Biden also emphasized the US unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity to his Russian counterpart.
He also made clear that the United States will "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia's actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference."
The statement said that the two leaders "discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty."
Biden also proposed holding a summit with Putin in a third country in the coming month to discuss the full range of issues between Washington and Moscow.
When discussing the internal Ukrainian crisis, Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement of the tensions in the Donbass region based on the Minsk agreements.
Biden also confirmed a previously sent invitation asking Putin to take part in a climate summit, which will be held via video link on April 22-23.
Both sides expressed their readiness to continue dialogue on the most important areas of ensuring global security, which would meet the interests of not only Russia and the United States, but the whole world as well.
Biden voiced interest in normalizing relations with Russia and establishing stable and predictable interaction on such acute problems as ensuring strategic stability, arms control, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Afghanistan, and global climate change.
The phone call came amid escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine and Russian troops movements along its borders with Ukraine.
The White House said last week that Russia had deployed more troops along the border with Ukraine than any time since 2014 when the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out. The ongoing conflict has killed some 14,000 people and left as many as 40,000 wounded.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday urged that NATO countries shift their focus to curbing Kiev's belligerent sentiment and ensure Ukraine's compliance with the Minsk agreements on a settlement of the Donbas conflict.
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