WASHINGTON: United States President Joe Biden spoke over telephone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for more than an hour on Saturday, urging him to de-escalate the situation with Ukraine and engage in diplomacy, the White House said. The call between the two leaders took place hours after Washington evacuated most of its embassy in Kyiv and pulled out a small contingent of 140 troops from the Florida National Guard from the country, saying Russian invasion could take place within days, if not hours.
“President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios,” a White House readout of the call said.
The call — their third on Ukraine — lasted from 11.04 am to 12.06 pm but appeared to show no visible progress in lessening tensions, though the two leaders agreed to remain in contact. The US officials seem to believe Moscow will press ahead with the attack, with Wednesday cited as the likely day for a Russian invasion. The administration kept leaking intelligence, it claimed, pointed to a Russian attack, through the day.
Moscow rubbished it and accused the US and its allies of warmongering.
Also, after the US earned disrepute for its botched intelligence ahead of the war on Iraq, officials explained the essential difference between the two scenarios: Previously, the intelligence reports were deployed to initiate a war; now, the intel leaks are aimed at preventing one.


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