WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will hold a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to “discuss a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia,” National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.
The call comes as U.S. and Russian officials are set to meet next month.
U.S. and Russian officials will gather on Jan. 10 in Geneva, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Neither Biden nor Putin will take part in that meeting. That same week, there will also be meetings between NATO and Russia, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Ukraine will be present, the official said.
In the past several months, there has been a buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s eastern border. Biden and allies have said they will impose tough economic sanctions against Russia if its aggression escalates.
Russia requested the call between the two leaders, according to a senior administration official. The official did not elaborate on what prompted the request from Moscow.
Ahead of Biden’s call with Putin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday will speak with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the official said.
Biden held a high-stakes video teleconference with Putin earlier this month, where he emphasized that he preferred a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. However, the president warned that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. would send additional defense resources to Ukraine above what it is already providing and would be looking to deploy additional forces to fortify its NATO allies in the area.
Horne in the statement said the administration has been coordinating with allies in Europe on the response to Russian actions toward Ukraine.
Contributing: Michael Collins, Matthew Brown and Joey Garrison
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_