Biden, Putin meet virtually over Ukraine tensions


News Desk :
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday opened their virtual summit with waves hello ahead of talk expected to deal with US concerns that Russia may invade Ukraine.
The Biden team closed the meeting start to US reporters, but Russian media broadcast clips of what appeared to be an amicable introduction.
“i welcome you, Mr. President,” Biden said to Putin according to RT. And Putin said, “Greetings, Mr. President,” back to Biden.
“Hello! Ha, ha ha, ha, ha. Good to see you again,” Biden said. “I uh, unfortunately last time I – we didn’t get to see each other at the G20. I hope next time we meet we do it in person.”
The Kremlin also released an image that showed Biden waving with a broad smile on his face.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last month alleged a pro-Russia coup plot that supposedly was supposed to take place Dec. 1-2 and Russia has allegedly amassed troops near Ukraine’s borders.
Ukraine is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe and has alternated between pro-Russian and pro-Western leaders since the end of the Cold War. A 2014 uprising moved Ukraine away from Russian influence, sparking pro-Russia protests across the Russian-speaking south and east of the country.
The White House has vowed crippling economic sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine – and prior Russian troop build-ups, including earlier this year, have dissipated without conflict.
But some Republicans say Biden isn’t doing enough.
“Joe Biden has no one to blame but himself for this situation in Russia,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
“I would say this call is even an example of how he is appeasing Vladimir Putin. He builds up 175,000 troops on Ukraine’s border and what does Joe Biden do? Rushes to get on a video call to beg him not to invade Ukraine when he is unwilling to specify exactly the kind of measures the United States will lead Europe in taking should he invade Ukraine.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a statement: “Diplomacy without action is weak and Vladimir Putin only understands strength. Allowing him to execute a land grab in Ukraine would be a humanitarian disaster in Europe and embolden other malign entities such as the Chinese Communist Party. President Biden must send a strong signal to Putin, Xi, and other brutal strongmen around the world that the United States will not condone violent takeovers of nations.”
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 following a disputed referendum. Prior to 1954, the important port and resort region was part of Russia, rather than Ukraine.
Putin’s government also allegedly propped up a pair of pro-Russia breakaway states in eastern Ukraine. Those territories in the coal-rich Donbas region remain at war with the country’s central government.
Zelensky wants Ukraine to join NATO, which would commit the US and Western Europe to the military defense of his country. Putin wants a US guarantee that won’t happen.
As vice president, Biden led the Obama administration’s foreign policy on Ukraine and wielded US foreign aid in a purported push to clean up corruption. His son Hunter Biden in 2014 joined the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, which paid him a reported $1 million per year despite no relevant industry experience.