Washington: US President Joe Biden has held two hours of virtual talks yesterday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, amid tensions on Ukraine's eastern frontier.

Washington said that Biden voiced deep concerns over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine, threatening strong economic and other measures. Moscow earlier said talks were needed as tensions were off the scale. Russia has moved thousands of troops to the border, but insists it has no intention of attacking Ukraine. It wants guarantees Ukraine will not join NATO, but Western powers say Kyiv's sovereignty should be respected.

After the talks, the White House in a statement has said that President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European allies about Russia's escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the US and our allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation.

President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.

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