President Biden is virtually meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday morning in a "high-stakes diplomatic effort" at de-escalating a crisis between Ukraine and Russia and easing fears of a Kremlin-led invasion of Kyiv, reports The New York Times.
The conference, which began around 10 a.m., is intended to "reaffirm the United States' support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Biden has said, per the Times. The president does not, however, have any desire to send troops into battle on Ukraine's behalf. Putin, on the other hand, believes Ukraine's relationship with the U.S. and Western European powers is "posing a threat to Russia," only with whom he feels the "true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible," reports The Washington Post.
Biden's task of preventing a "European land war that could turn into a full-blown transatlantic crisis," per the Post, is just one of several crises threatening the president ahead of the administration's inaugural Summit for Democracy from Dec. 9 to 10. In addition to preventing a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden must consider "continuing Chinese pressure on Taiwan and the potential collapse of Iran nuclear talks," writes The Wall Street Journal; each issue "has the potential to shake the world order and produce wider conflict."
In any event, the Russia call will be a major test for the so-called foreign policy president, who's already on shaky ground with the American public following August's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, notes The Daily Beast. Biden's plan is to deter Putin from invading using economic sanctions and other measures, but even that will be a "difficult needle to thread."