Biden, Putin to Speak by Phone Amid Ukraine Tensions: Spokesman

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 11, 2022US News
Biden, Putin to Speak by Phone Amid Ukraine Tensions: Spokesman
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a U.S.–Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, on June 16, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, according to a top Kremlin spokesman on Friday.

“Indeed, the U.S. side requested a conversation with President Putin, and the talks of the two presidents are planned to take place tomorrow in the evening,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “The request was preceded by a letter from the U.S. side,” he said.

Unnamed Biden administration officials told several news outlets that the two leaders will have a phone call about the military escalation. The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.

“I would expect that President Biden will engage by telephone with President Putin, but I don’t have anything to announce for you on that right now,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday.

Previously, Sullivan told reporters at the White House Friday that Russian forces may assault Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Before that, President Joe Biden warned that U.S. citizens in Ukraine and Russia should leave immediately as the State Department issued a notice that it wouldn’t be able to evacuate Americans if Russia carried out any military action.

“That is a possible line of attack, course of action, that the Russian forces could choose to take. They could also choose to move in other parts of Ukraine as well,” Sullivan said Friday.

And Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Australia, issued a similar message: “As we said before, we’re in a window when an invasion could begin at any time. To be clear, that includes during the Olympics.”

Neither Sullivan nor Blinken provided any evidence or new information that Russia might invade Ukraine. Russian officials, meanwhile, told state-run media on Friday the White House’s claims of a pending assault are “fake news.”

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sought to calm tensions, namely a theory that Russia may invade Kyiv.

“Do not believe the apocalyptic predictions. Different capitals have different scenarios, but Ukraine is ready for any development,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter. “Today, Ukraine has a strong army, unprecedented international support and the faith of Ukrainians in their country. It is the enemy who should fear us.”

The U.S. Air Force this week confirmed that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, support equipment, and 5th Wing personnel are being deployed to England in the midst of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The B-52s will be “integrated with British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission,” according to a press release from the Air Force.

Air Force B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress after refueling during a mission over the Middle East in a file photo. (U.S. Air Force)

Four B-52 aircraft are being sent to Royal Air Force Fairford, the release said. Those bombers integrated with other NATO aircraft while traveling to the base, the Air Force said, adding that they include “British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission.”

The Air Force release did not mention the increased tensions in Eastern Europe. On Friday, White House officials called on Americans to leave Ukraine in the next 48 hours as more than 100,000 Russian troops and military armor have amassed near the country’s borders in recent weeks.

“With an ever-changing global security environment, it’s critical that our efforts with our allies and partners are unified,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, a U.S. Air Force commander. “We’re in Europe training and collaborating together, because consistent integration is how we strengthen our collective airpower.”

Photos published by UK news outlets showed the B-52s arriving at Fairford on Thursday. The bombers, based at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, are capable of carrying precision-guided and nuclear weapons.

From The Epoch Times

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