Putin, Biden to ‘continue dialogue’ to ensure security: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden said in a phone call on Tuesday they would “continue dialogue” over ensuring global security, the Kremlin said.

“Both sides expressed their readiness to continue dialogue on the most important areas of ensuring global security,” the Kremlin said in a statement. 

The statement also confirmed that Biden had proposed a summit between the two leaders “in the near future”, but did not say whether Putin had agreed.

A summit would be the first between Biden and Putin, who held a summit in Finland in 2018 with then US president Donald Trump.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who in the 1980s helped drag ties between Moscow and Washington out of a deep freeze, on Tuesday welcomed a possible summit. 

“This is the only way to start building bilateral relations in a new way,” he was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Putin last month suggested that he and Biden hold virtual talks after the US president agreed to a description of his Russian counterpart as a “killer”, but Washington did not respond to the proposal. 

Although the two leaders came to an agreement on extending a key nuclear pact, soon after Biden’s inauguration in January, his “killer” comment saw tensions between Moscow and Washington soar.

Their call Tuesday comes after tensions escalated even further in recent weeks, with Russia massing troops on its border with Ukraine and Kiev’s allies including Washington calling on Moscow to pull back its forces.

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russia separatists on its eastern flank since 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to support the separatists, claims Moscow denies.

The Kremlin said Putin in his call with Biden outlined a settlement to the conflict based on the 2015 Minsk accords, to which Russia agreed together with France, Germany and Ukraine, but which have failed to end the fighting. 

The two leaders also discussed the Iranian nuclear programme, Afghanistan peace talks and global climate change, the Kremlin said.