Biden comments on Russia’s ‘red lines’

US President Joe Biden has vowed to hold a lengthy talk with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the issue of Ukraine, while insisting he will accept no “red lines” from Moscow.

“We've been aware of Russia's actions [concerning Ukraine] for a long time and my expectation is we're going to have a long discussion with Putin,” Biden said Friday night as he left for a trip to Camp David. 

“I don't accept anybody's red lines,” the president added in apparent reference to “red lines” Moscow had outlined earlier this week as several Western publicans suggested that a military showdown in Ukraine is imminent.

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Russia explains red lines on NATO expansion

On Thursday, the country’s foreign ministry claimed that the military bloc had assured Russia it would not move “an inch” further east at the end of the Cold War. Despite that pledge, NATO has continued to grow since, encompassing new member states ever-closer to Russia’s borders, with Ukraine repeatedly expressing interest in joining up in recent years.

The ministry stressed that “the only option for resolving the current situation” would be for NATO to rule out any further expansion towards Russia’s borders as well as for it to stop its ongoing military build-up at the country's doorstep.

Last month, the Biden administration warned European officials that Russia could be mulling an “invasion” of eastern Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatening “serious consequences” in the event of any “aggression” there.

Moscow has rejected those predictions as groundless, but has voiced some concern about a possible internal conflict breaking out in Ukraine's war-torn Donbass. Russia has accused the West of “encouraging” Ukraine to start an armed conflict by moving NATO military gear closer to the border.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also claimed Ukrainian forces have been using US-made rockets as they battle separatists in the east of the country, arguing that the alleged US assistance increases chances of a full-blown civil war.

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