Putin’s red line: No Nato in Ukraine. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:
So Russian President Vladimir Putin, by himself, and United States President Joe Biden, surrounded by aides, finally had their secret video link conference for two hours and two minutes – with translators placed in different rooms.
That was their first serious exchange since they met in person in Geneva last June – the first Russia-US summit since 2018. For global public opinion, led to believe a “war” in Ukraine was all but imminent, what’s left is essentially a torrent of spin.
So let’s start with a simple exercise focusing on the key issue of the video link – Ukraine – contrasting the White House and Kremlin versions of what transpired.
The White House: Biden made it “clear” to Putin that the US and allies will respond with “decisive economic and other measures” to a military escalation in Ukraine. At the same time, Biden called on Putin to de-escalate around Ukraine and “return to diplomacy.”
Kremlin: Putin offered Biden to nullify all restrictions on the functioning of diplomatic missions. He remarked that cooperation between Russia and the US is still in an “unsatisfactory” state.
He urged the US not to shift “responsibility on the shoulders of Russia” for the escalation of the situation around Ukraine.
The White House: The US will expand military aid to Ukraine if Russia takes steps against it.
Kremlin: Putin told Biden that Russia is interested in obtaining legally fixed guarantees excluding NATO’s eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike systems in Russia’s neighboring countries.
The White House: Biden did not give Putin any commitments that Ukraine will remain outside NATO.