Putin and Biden end high-stakes call as war fears erupt on EU border

US military on high alert amid fears of Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Russia’s RIA news agency reported that virtual talks between the US President and his Russian counterpart wrapped up after two hours and five minutes.

The two leaders were seeking to de-escalate tensions amid Western fears that Moscow is poised to invade neighbouring Ukraine.

Mr Biden and Mr Putin greeted each other in a friendly manner at the start of what were expected to be tense talks.

The West fears Russia may be set to invade Ukraine, which Moscow denies.

Russia has sparked war fears with its troop buildup on the border.

Mr Biden will hold a call with Boris Johnson and leaders from France, Germany and Italy following his talks with Mr Putin.

The US President will update the Prime Minister and other European powers on the latest developments after his discussions with the Russian leader.

It will be the second call in 24 hours between Mr Johnson, Mr Biden, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel as they seek to present a united front in response to the threat of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.

In a call on Monday, Mr Johnson told his fellow leaders “the UK would continue to use all the economic and diplomatic tools at its disposal to prevent any Russian aggression against Ukraine”.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford told MPs that the UK was considering “an extension of purely defensive support to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend itself”.

She said any “military incursion” by Russia into the Eastern European country would be a “strategic mistake”.

Mr Biden was expected to use his call with Mr Putin to warn the US would impose serious economic sanctions if Russian forces crossed into Ukraine.

In a preview of the video call, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We’ve consulted significantly with our allies and believe we have a path forward that would impose significant and severe harm on the Russian economy.”


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