Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov described a phone call Saturday between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin as “balanced and businesslike,” but he said the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization had failed to address Russia’s main security concerns.
Ushakov said the conversation, which ran just over an hour, “took place in an atmosphere of hysteria about the supposedly imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine by American officials, everyone knows this.”
Ushakov added: “The pressure around the topic of the invasion was carried out in a coordinated manner and the hysteria has reached its climax.”
According to Ushakov, Biden told Putin he was “committed to the diplomatic path and had laid out a range of considerations that he sees as addressing many of Russia’s concerns.”
But, Ushakov added, Putin said the West had ignored main Russia’s security concerns, saying the US and its allies had been “pumping up” Ukraine with new weaponry and encouraging provocations by Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region and in Crimea.
“The Russian side, of course, will carefully analyze the considerations expressed by Biden and will undoubtedly take them into account, but unfortunately these considerations do not affect the central, key elements of Russian initiatives about NATO expansion, about not deploying strike forces on Ukrainian territory, about the return of the [NATO] alliance to the state of 1997,” Ushakov said.