While Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently had his translator in a separate room during the ?one-on-one? conversation with US President Joe Biden, the White House posted a photo showing that the American leader had company.
Putin and Biden spoke for just over two hours on Tuesday, discussing Ukraine, sanctions, nuclear weapons and other subjects. After the televised introduction, however, reporters were ushered out and the two leaders were expected to continue the video call one-on-one.
According to a Russia 1 channel correspondent reporting from the Kremlin, Putin had his interpreter sit in a separate room to adhere to "strictly one-on-one format" of the meeting.
Biden, however, had company.
US President Joe Biden and aides talking with Russian president Vladimir Putin, December 7, 2021
A White House photo released after the call showed the interpreter, as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and NSC's senior director for Russia Eric Green sitting in the Situation Room alongside the president.
They were "surrounded" by Putin on all sides, as every screen in the room displayed the Russian leader on the other end of the call.
The White House readout of the call said Biden had voiced "deep concerns" over Ukraine and discussed ransomware and "regional issues such as Iran," among other things, while the Kremlin said Putin demanded guarantees of non-expansion to the east from the US-led NATO bloc.
After the call, Biden was supposed to reach out to the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy, to brief them on the discussion. He would speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, Sullivan said.