President Joe Biden spoke to Vladimir Putin by video conference from the White House Situation Room on Tuesday morning. The call started off with some technical difficulties when Biden forgot to switch his microphone on.
Biden was seen happily waving to Russian President Vladimir Putin and chuckling during what was supposed to be a tense video call on Tuesday morning.
But the White House said Biden gave a tough talk to his Russian counterpart in their two-hour conversation and made it clear any invasion of Ukraine would be met with ‘strong’ economic sanctions and ‘other measures.’
During the video chat, Biden apparently ‘voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the U.S. and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,’ the White House said in a readout of the call.
‘President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy,’ the White House noted. There will be follow-up conversations on the staff level.
Russian news agencies released a video of the first few minutes of the call.
Biden experienced some technical difficulties, apparently forgetting to switch his microphone on.
‘Greetings Mr. President,’ Putin said to Biden in Russian.
There was silence on the other end and then Biden was seen leaning forward and flipping a button.
‘There you go,’ Biden said, suddenly audible.
‘Hello,’ he added, chuckling and waving to his Russian counterpart. ‘It’s good to see you again.’
Biden was also heard telling Putin during another short clip from their chat: ‘We didn’t get to see one another at the G20. I hope the next time we meet we do it in person.’
The call started at 10:07 am ET, according to the White House. The American press was not allowed to view the conversation. It ended at 12:08 pm the White House said.
After the call ended, the White House released a photo of Biden in the White House Situation Room.
‘.@POTUS held a secure video call with President Putin of Russia today to discuss a range of topics in the U.S.-Russia relationship, including our concerns about Russian military activities on the border with Ukraine, cyber, and regional issues,’ the White House said in the tweet.