US President Joe Biden hopes to announce a high-level meeting with Russia and four major NATO allies by the end of the week, to discuss Moscow's concerns and calm things down on what he called the ?eastern front.?
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, Biden answered several questions about his video-conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before. He said he warned Putin of unprecedented economic consequences if Russia invades Ukraine.
The US leader also said he hoped to announce a NATO-Russia meeting by Friday, to "discuss the future of Russia's concerns relative to NATO writ large," and see if anything can be worked out in relation to "bringing down the temperature along the eastern front," according to Reuters.
During the call, Putin said Russia wanted firm legal guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward or deploy offensive weapons in countries bordering Russia. The White House said Biden offered no such guarantees. However, Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yury Ushakov told reporters later that Biden had promised to talk to other NATO leaders about it.
Speaking at a press conference in Sochi on Wednesday, Putin said it would be "criminal inaction" for Russia to stand idly by while Ukraine joins NATO.
"Russia conducts peace-loving foreign policy, but we have a right to provide for our own safety," he added.