Kremlin says US-Russia ties are at low ebb as tensions on Ukraine rise

Dec 7, 2021: The Kremlin called the state of US-Russian relations “lamentable” on the eve of a video call between President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden, when the two would discuss tensions around Ukraine.

U.S. officials last month pointed to the unusual movement of Russian troops near Ukraine and expressed concern that there was a possible Russian attack, which Moscow dismissed as fear-mongering. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia sees it as an extension of NATO’s borders and a long-term security guarantee, which Putin said Moscow needed from the West, would be a focus on Tuesday’s call.

President Putin has said he wants legally-binding guarantees that NATO will not expand further eastwards and a pledge that certain types of weapons will not be deployed in countries close to Russia, including Ukraine.

Putin is expected to raise the possibility of holding another US-Russia summit with Biden too. The two men last met at a summit in June in Geneva.

“They will need to discuss how the understandings they reached in Geneva are being implemented, to review what is being fully implemented, and what needs extra work,” Peskov told reporters.

“Of course it (the agenda) is bilateral relations, which remain in quite a lamentable state. And then it’s the questions that loom large on the agenda. Primarily tension around Ukraine, the theme of NATO advancement towards our borders, and President Putin’s initiative about security guarantees.”

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