The White House said there has been no material progress in deescalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine after President Joe Biden held an hour-long call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The call happened between 11:04 a.m. and 12:06 p.m. ET.
Biden warned Putin that the United States will “respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia” if the latter chose to invade Ukraine.
However, the White House said there had been no material progress made during the call between the two leaders.
“There was no fundamental change in the dynamic that has been unfolding now for several weeks,” a senior administration official told reporters during a background press call after the meeting.
Here is the full readout of the call released by the White House on Saturday afternoon:
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia about Russia’s escalating military buildup on the borders of Ukraine. President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing. 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.
The State Department ordered an evacuation of most U.S. direct-hire employees from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and urged Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately earlier Saturday as the tension at the Russia-Ukraine border escalated.
At the same time, the Biden administration is moving thousands of troops into Eastern Europe including 1,700 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division and a squadron from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
Over the past few months, Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops and artillery along its border with Ukraine. However, the Kremlin denied any plan of invading Ukraine.
Russia declined to deescalate the tension with Ukraine saying the United States and NATO failed to address fundamental security concerns from Moscow: that NATO stops its eastward expansion and that strike weapons not be deployed near Russian borders, according to a statement obtained by Russian State Media TASS.
“It was emphasized that these issues would be central in our assessment of the documents received from the U.S. and NATO, which would be brought to the notice of our colleagues,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly told Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a call on Saturday.
Washington and NATO have an open mind about Ukraine joining NATO.
“From our perspective, I can’t be more clear—NATO’s door is open, remains open, and that is our commitment,” Blinken said in late January, though he renewed an offer of “reciprocal” measures to address mutual security concerns between Russia and NATO, including missile reductions in Europe.