By Trevor Hunnicutt and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON, Dec 29 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the White House said, as Washington continues to work with allies on a common response to Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border.
Biden and Putin will discuss a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.
She said Biden had spoken with leaders across Europe about the situation on the Ukraine border, while Biden administration officials were in touch with NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Moscow has alarmed the West by massing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine in the past two months, following its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and its backing of separatists fighting Kyiv troops in eastern Ukraine.
“The Biden administration continues to engage in extensive diplomacy with our European allies and partners, consulting and coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia´s military build-up on the border with Ukraine,” Horne said.
She said U.S. officials had also held numerous consultations with their counterparts, including those from eastern flank countries bilaterally and in the B9 format as well as Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters the call was planned for “late Thursday evening”.
Biden on Tuesday said “we’ll see” when asked if he would meet Putin on Jan. 10, the same day U.S. and Russian officials are due to hold security talks.
The talks, announced by the two countries on Monday, are to discuss concerns about rising tensions over Ukraine.
Russia and NATO are also likely to hold talks on Jan. 12, with a broader meeting including Moscow, Washington and other European countries set for Jan. 13. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; writing by Andrea Shalal and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Chizu Nomiyama)