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Putin-Biden talks were useful for both sides - Kremlin

Also, the presidents exchanged New Year’s greetings and best wishes

MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. The call between Russian and US presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden was useful for both sides, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"The talks were candid, businesslike and certainly was useful for both sides," the statement said after the presidents spoke by phone. "It was agreed that regular top-level contacts will continue."

Also, the presidents exchanged New Year’s greetings and best wishes, the statement said.

The Kremlin said the talks focused on upcoming negotiations about giving Russia legally binding security guarantees. Putin explained the approaches that underlie Russia’s draft agreements addressed to the US and NATO.

"It was stressed that the joint work should result in firm legally binding guarantees that will rule out NATO’S eastward expansion and the deployment of threatening weapons systems in the immediate proximity to Russian borders," the statement said. "It was emphasized that the security of every country may be ensured based only on strict adherence to the principle of indivisibility of security."

The president expressed readiness for serious and substantive talks and agreed the talks will first take place in Geneva on January 9-10, then at Russia-NATO Council in Brussels on January 12 and then discussions will start at the OSCE on January 13.

Putin and Biden said they will supervise the talks with the aim of reaching concrete results as soon as possible, the Kremlin said.

Also, Biden underscored the US and Russia bear special responsibility for security in Europe and the entire world, the Kremlin said. In addition, he said the US has no plans to deploy offensive weaons in Ukraine, according to the statement.

Putin responded to Biden’s reiteration that Russia would encounter massive economic and military sanctions in the event of further escalation on the Ukrainian border.

"It was stated that would represent a most serious mistake that would, as a matter of fact, raise the danger of a total severance of Russian-US relations," the statement said.