Washington, Dec 8 (IANS): US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a video call on a range of bilateral issues as well as the Ukrainian crisis and the Iran nuclear deal.
Biden "voiced the deep concerns" of the US and its European allies about "Russia's escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the US and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation," the White House said in a readout after the meeting.
Biden "reiterated his support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy," Xinhua news agency quoted the readout as saying.
"The two presidents tasked their teams to follow up, and the US will do so in close coordination with allies and partners," it said.
The presidents also discussed the US-Russia dialogue on Strategic Stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, as well as joint work on regional issues such as Iran, said the readout.
The leaders mainly focused on the internal crisis in Ukraine during their second talks in six months, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin, using specific examples, explained to Biden "the destructive policy" of the Ukrainian authorities and expressed his "serious concern about Kiev's provocative actions against Donbass."
Putin stressed that it is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that is making dangerous attempts to "conquer Ukrainian territory" and is building up its military potential near the Russian borders.
Putin asked Biden for the guarantee that NATO will not expand in the eastern direction and not deploy offensive weapons near Russia.
To create conditions for mending bilateral ties, Putin offered Biden to lift all the accumulated restrictions on the functioning of Russian and US diplomatic missions.
Biden and Putin held their first face-to-face meetings in a summit in Geneva in June and spoke via phone in July.