President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday and proposed a meeting in a third country in the coming months as tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise in eastern Europe.
According to a White House statement about the call, Biden and Putin discussed arms control and emerging security issues. Biden also called on Russia to deescalate tensions in Ukraine.
The White House statement said Biden “emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and voiced “concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders(.)”
A Kremlin statement on the call released later on Tuesday said, “When exchanging views on the internal Ukrainian crisis, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures.”
The two discussed arms control issues, as well as building on the extension of the New START Treaty. According to the White House, Biden “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 Kremlin statement said Biden “expressed interest in normalizing the state of affairs on the bilateral track and establishing stable and predictable interaction” on issues like “arms control, the Iran nuclear program, Afghanistan and climate change.”
“Both sides expressed their readiness to continue the 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 entire world community,” the statement said.
The Kremlin statement also confirmed that Biden “suggested considering the possibility of holding a personal meeting at the highest level in the foreseeable future.”
The relationship between the world leaders got off to a tumultuous start, with the US adjusting its posture with Russia by finalizing sanctions in the wake of the poisoning and jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, the SolarWinds hack and its placing of bounties on US troops serving in Afghanistan.
During an interview in March, Biden called Putin a killer, saying that the Russia
In leader “will pay a price” for his efforts to undermine the 2020 US election.
In response, the Kremlin recalled its ambassador to the US for the first time in more than 20 years. Putin responded to Biden’s criticisms with a dry wish for “good health” and a proposal for a live televised debate.
The situation between Russia and Ukraine has escalated in recent weeks as the Russians have sent more troops to the area. In response the US has considered sending warships into the Black Sea in the next few weeks in a show of support for Ukraine, a US defense official told CNN Thursday.
The US Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea, but a deployment of warships now would send a specific message to Moscow that the US is closely watching, the official said. The Defense official also said the Navy is continuing to fly reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea to monitor Russian naval activity and any troops movements in Crimea.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Anna Chernova, Betsy Klein, Barbara Starr and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.