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Biden, Putin to hold video talks amid growing Ukraine tension

Moscow, December 5

US and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call on Tuesday, the White House and Kremlin said, as tensions between the two escalate over a Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border that is seen as a sign of a potential invasion.

Biden will press US concerns about Russian military activities on the border and “reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Saturday, confirming the planned call after first word came from Moscow.

Putin is likely to talk about concerns of his own and intends to express Russia’s opposition to any move to admit Ukraine into the NATO military alliance.

The last known call between the leaders was in July, when Biden pressed Putin to rein in Russia-based criminal hacking gangs launching ransomware attacks against the United States. Biden said the US would take any necessary steps to protect critical infrastructure from such attacks.

Ransomware attacks have continued since then, though perhaps none has been as alarming as the one from May that targeted a major fuel pipeline and resulted in days of gas shortages in parts of the US. — AP

Concern over border build-up

US intelligence officials have said Russia has massed about 70,000 troops near its border with Ukraine and has started planning a possible invasion as soon as the early next year.

Belarus summons Ukraine military attache over border breach

Moscow: The Belarusian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned Ukraine’s military attacheacute; to protest against what it called repeated violations of Belarus’ airspace by Ukrainian aircraft. Relations between the two countries plummeted last year, when Russia sided with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during mass street protests and Lukashenko in turn became more vocal in his support for Moscow against Ukraine. Reuters

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