President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, warning him to respect the territory of Ukraine or face consequences from the United States.
“President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House revealed in a readout of the call sent to reporters.
The White House added Biden “voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.”
Biden spoke to Putin after the NATO alliance condemned Russia’s troop buildups on its borders with Ukraine.
“Russia’s considerable military buildup is unjustified, unexplained, and deeply concerning,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday. “Russia must end this military buildup in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations, and de-escalate immediately.”
Biden also proposed a summit with the Russians, according to the White House, in a third country agreed upon by both countries.
This is the first time Biden spoke directly with Putin after calling him a killer in an interview in April.
Putin responded by offering Biden the opportunity to discuss their differences in an online live forum.
“It’s true, we really know each other personally. What would I answer him? I would tell him: Be healthy,” Putin added in response to Biden’s comments. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, no jokes.”