US, European allies call on Russia to de-escalate Ukraine tensions

Washington DC, Dec 6 (EFE).- The president of the United States and several of its European allies, including France and Germany, urged Russia on Monday to de-escalate tension on the border with Ukraine in the face of possible aggression or invasion by the Kremlin.

In a call on Monday, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, and President Biden of the United States “discussed their shared concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and Russia’s increasingly harsh rhetoric,” the White House said in a statement.

“They called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and agreed that diplomacy, especially through the Normandy Format, is the only way forward to resolve the conflict in Donbas (Ukraine) through the implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” the statement added.

The call between Biden, Macron, Merkel, Draghi and Johnson took place a day before the US president spoke with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, about the growing tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine.

The conversation between Biden and Putin, the first since the summit between the two leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, comes as US intelligence services believe that Russia could try to invade Ukraine in early 2022.

US intelligence estimates that Moscow has about 70,000 troops, along with equipment and artillery, deployed on the border with Ukraine, and suspects that it may be preparing an attack as soon as early 2022, according to official sources cited by American media.

During Monday’s call, the leaders stressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and agreed that their respective teams remain “in close touch” to monitor the situation.

The US government also reiterated its “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression” in a call between the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Blinken and Zelenskyy agreed on “the need for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Donbas” as well as “the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea.”

Ukraine aspires to join NATO as the best defense mechanism against the threat posed by the Kremlin, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and openly supports the pro-Russian separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. EFE


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