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Biden and Putin to hold summit after 6 months… Will war in Ukraine be stopped?

US President Joe Biden (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first summit meeting at Villa La Grunge in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16. Geneva = EPA

The U.S. and Russian leaders will meet again after six months as tensions rise over rumors of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Although the meeting is in the form of a video call, it is expected to serve as an opportunity to relieve tensions in Eastern Europe. However, it seems unlikely that this will serve as an opportunity for a complete recovery of bilateral relations due to the deep chasm between the two countries.

The White House and the Russian Kremlin released a statement on the 4th (local time) and announced that US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin would hold a video summit on the 7th. The two leaders held their first face-to-face summit since Biden took office in Geneva, Switzerland in June, and reached a consensus on the need to improve bilateral relations. However, recently, as the possibility of a Russian attack on Ukraine has been raised one after another, a nerve war has continued.

Following the annexation of Crimea, a Ukrainian territory, in 2014, Russia has been gathering troops on the borders around the country under the pretext of NATO’s approach to Ukraine.

The Washington Post (WP) reported on the 3rd that Russia may mobilize 175,000 troops to attack Ukraine early next year. According to satellite images and information documents, 50 Russian combat tactical corps are gathered in four areas, and tanks and artillery have been newly deployed. The head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Agency earlier claimed that Russia was preparing to invade by the end of January or early February next year by mobilizing more than 92,000 troops on its border.

Russian Interfax news agency reported that on the 4th, a US RC-135V reconnaissance aircraft flying over the Black Sea invaded the route of a civilian airliner, and a Russian fighter took off urgently to conduct a surveillance flight.

Amid growing military tensions along the Russian-Ukrainian border, Ukrainian Air Assault Forces troops mobilize armored vehicles for land training in Zhitomir on the 21st of last month. Zitomir = Reuters

It is highly likely that the key agenda for this summit will be the resolution of such tensions. White House press secretary Jen Saki said: “President Biden will underscore US concerns about Russian military activity at the Ukrainian border and will also reaffirm US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

President Putin is known to demand a guarantee of a ban on East Asia, which is expanding NATO’s influence into the former Soviet bloc. In particular, Russia regards the deployment of NATO missile systems in Ukraine as a ‘red line’. The two leaders are also expected to discuss regional issues such as cyber hacking, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria.

Even if the possibility of a war in Ukraine is reduced through this meeting, it seems difficult to expect the conflict to be completely resolved. Shortly after the Swiss summit in June, the ambassador to the two countries returned and the attack on the US by a Russian-based cyber hacker group was halted. However, this is because the root of the conflict is deep, such as continuing the battle to expel diplomats from other countries residing in their own country and not stopping the confrontational stance.

Washington = Jeong Sang-won correspondent

Heo Kyung-ju reporter


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