On Eve of Call With Putin, Biden to Speak With NATO Allies About Russia-Ukraine Situation

President Joe Biden has scheduled a call to discuss the ongoing Russia and Ukraine border issues on Monday with European allies, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, according to the Associated Press.

One day after this call with NATO member leaders, Biden is scheduled to speak via a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine issue, as well as on Iran's nuclear program, cybersecurity and other issues that concern both countries.

Putin is apparently seeking promises from Biden to stop NATO's expansion into Ukraine, according to the Kremlin, although Biden has not indicated any such promises.

According to a Biden administration official, Biden is also set to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his call with Putin.

The administration official who spoke to the AP was not authorized to discuss certain subjects and spoke on the condition of anonymity, but also said that U.S. intelligence officials have found that Russia has placed nearly 70,000 troops at their shared border with Ukraine and has begun planning for an invasion as early as next year.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Russian Wooden Dolls
President Joe Biden has scheduled calls to discuss the Russia and Ukraine border issues, first with the United States’ European allies, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy on Monday. A customer shows to photographer a traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matreska of Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. President Joe Biden, center right, at a souvenirs store in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

A second administration official underscored that the U.S. has not determined whether Putin has made a final decision on a possible invasion. Still, Biden in Tuesday's call intends to make clear to the Russian leader that there will be a "very real cost" should Russia choose to proceed with military action, the official said.

Potential U.S. countermeasures include stiff economic sanctions, increased support for the Ukrainian military and bolstering of the military capability of NATO allies in the region, the official said.

The risks for Putin of going through with an invasion could be significant.

U.S. officials and former American diplomats say Ukraine's military is better armed and prepared today than in the past, and that sanctions threatened by the West would do serious damage to the Russian economy.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, during his daily conference call with reporters, said Monday that U.S.-Russian relations are in "a rather dire state" but that the Kremlin looks forward to hearing what Biden has to say.

"I think President Putin will hear these proposals with great interest. And we will be able to see how much these (proposals) would be able to defuse tensions," Peskov told Russia's state TV station Channel One later on Monday.