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Kremlin says it has date for new Putin-Biden talks, waiting for U.S. approval



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian and U.S. state flags fly near a factory in Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Region, Russia March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia and the United States had a tentative date and time for a video summit between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden in the coming days, but that Moscow was waiting for Washington to finalise it.

Kremlin advisor Yuri Ushakov said Putin plans to tell Biden about a proposal for security guarantees that would halt the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion and end what Moscow describes as threatening weapons deployments to Russia’s neighbours, including Ukraine.

“Given the tense situation, there is now an urgent need to provide us with appropriate guarantees. It simply cannot go on like this,” Ushakov told reporters at a briefing.

The United States, its NATO allies and Ukraine accuse Moscow of massing troops near the Ukrainian border, and Kyiv says it fears Russia is planning an attack. Moscow denies plans to invade Ukraine, and accuses Kyiv of building up its own forces to attack territory held by pro-Russian separatists.

Russia has been pushing for top-level talks with the United States for weeks, and has floated the idea of seeking legally-binding security guarantees from the West.

Ushakov repeated Russia’s denials that it is being aggressive along the Ukrainian frontier.

“It’s nonsense, there is no escalation,” said Ushakov. “We have the right to move around troops on our own territory, there is absolutely no escalation (by us).”

Ushakov said any talks with Biden would take place after Putin travels to India next week.

“We have a concrete date and time for this video conference. I think it’s better to wait for final agreement from the Americans. But this meeting in the format of a video conference is being fairly actively prepared,” he said.

At the talks, Putin and Biden could also discuss agreements they reached at their first summit in Geneva in June, Ushakov said. Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Syria and strategic stability might also be raised, he said.

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