On Tuesday, when Joe Biden, the U.S. President his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meet virtually, the two leaders will have to negotiate a history of mutual suspicion as both take up the urgent matter of a significant Russian military buildup on the border of Ukraine.
The Cold War ended thirty years ago in December, but one unanswered question – how closely Ukraine can ally with the West – is now creating some of the sincere Russia-American tensions in several years.
The disagreement over a former Soviet Republic’s status and its rising alignment with America-led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) will be at the center of Russian President Putin’s meeting on Tuesday with Joe Biden, whose government says a comprehensive Russian military buildup near East European nation points to a potential invasion.
Moreover, the Russian Federation denies any purpose of invading and says Kyiv and Washington are the ones stirring up trouble. Putin has his own demands – a binding declaration that Ukraine wouldn’t join the North Atlantic Alliance and that the Western Alliance wouldn’t add forces in states near Russia.
Last week, echoing Putin, Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that he wants to make it completely transparent, turning their neighbors into a base for confrontation with the Federation, the deployment of NATO troops in the regions strategically significant for their security, is absolutely unacceptable. And that call is a non-starter for Mr. Biden.
‘severe costs and consequences’
A vital principle of the North Atlantic Alliance is that membership is open to any qualifying state, and no stranger has membership veto power. Despite the fact there is a slight possibility that the former Soviet Republic would be invited into the military alliance anytime soon, America and its partners wouldn’t rule it out.
On Friday, the White House Press Secretary said that NATO member nations decide who is a NATO member, not Russia. And that’s how the process has always been and how it would advance.
According to a White House statement, before his meeting with Mr. Putin, Joe Biden conferred by phone on Monday with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. They all discussed a collective concern regarding the extensive Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border and Russia’s progressively harsh rhetoric.
Moreover, they agreed to endure seeking diplomacy, including through the so-called Normandy Format that carries together Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia in search of a political answer, until now to no avail.
Agreed positions with @SecBlinken before the phone conversation of Presidents Biden and Putin. Agreed to continue joint & concerted action. Grateful to 🇺🇸 strategic partners & allies for the continued support of our sovereignty & territorial integrity. Nothing about 🇺🇦 without 🇺🇦
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 6, 2021
Last week, Antony Blinken, the U.S. State Secretary, said America would work with partners to impose ‘severe costs and consequences’ on Russian Federation if it attacks.