The two sides agreed to consult on sensitive security issues, which was an important step towards the goal of strategic stability and building their trust for one another.
The press release issued by Russia and the US following the online meeting said that Presidents V.Putin and J.Biden discussed a range of issues on the US - Russia agenda. According to the Kremlin, the two sides talked about the implementation of agreements reached at their Geneva summit in June, boosting dialogues on cyber security and the Iranian nuclear issue.
Regarding issues related to Ukraine, the implementation of the Minsk agreements in 2015 was the main topic of the talks. Following the US President’s remarks on Russian military movements along the border with Ukraine, Russian President V.Putin said NATO has been making dangerous attempts to expanded its military capabilities near the border of Russia. President V.Putin’s position was that Russia demands NATO guarantees not to expand eastward precluding any further NATO expansion and deployment of its weapons near his country’s borders, including Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin also proposed lifting all the accumulated restrictions on the diplomatic missions from the two countries.
Meanwhile, the White House said the online meeting between the two leaders lasted about two hours. President Joe Biden "voiced the deep concerns" of the US and its European allies about the issues related to Ukraine and made it clear that the US and its allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation. President J.Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation of tensions and a return to diplomacy. According to the White House, the two leaders tasked their teams to follow up on the issues discussed. The two sides also discussed the US-Russia dialogue on Strategic Stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, as well as joint work on regional issues such as Iran.
The high-level dialogues took place in the context of tense Russia-US relations, even at its lowest point since the Cold War, stemming from controversy over a number of issues such as cyber security, Syria and Ukraine. Their bilateral relations have been “fuelled” due to NATO enlargement or military support for Ukraine. At the end of November, the Russian ambassador to the US said that Washington had ordered 27 Russian diplomats and their families to leave the US by January 30, 2022. In response to this move, Moscow ordered US Embassy staff who have been in Russia for more than three years to fly home by January 31, 2022.
The online meeting between Russian and US Presidents was said to open up communication channels between the two countries and the beginning of hope for positive developments in the future. Both Russia and the US still said that diplomacy is the only responsible solution to the crisis facing the two sides. Opening up communication channels, especially amid heightened tensions, is extremely essential.
Despite many problems between Russia and the US, the two sides expressed their goodwill in cooperation to cope with common challenges in the context of the rapidly changing and unpredictable world situation. At their Geneva summit in June, US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to engage in “strategic stability” dialogue with the participation of diplomats and military experts from the two countries to create basis for future arms control and risk reduction measures.
The critical meeting between the two leaders was described as taking place in a frank atmosphere, addressing hot and “sensitive” issues in the relations between the two countries. Observers said that although the positions were difficult to reconcile, the two sides showed their restraints and were committed to reducing tensions, moving towards a stable relationship between Russia and the US and contributing to the peace and stability of the region and the world.