The report comes amid growing tensions over Ukraine as Washington and its allies claim Moscow is planning “an invasion” of the country. The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected the claims, saying that the “Russian invasion” mantra is being artificially hyped up in the media to create a pretext for NATO forces to be deployed near Russia’s borders.
During closed-door sessions, US President Joe Biden took jabs at some of his counterparts involved in coordinating a response to possible Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, NBC News has quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that Biden once said that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is no Angela Merkel, also describing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s behaviour as blustery.
Referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, POTUS argued that he wants to be Charles de Gaulle, according to the insiders. The US president also ostensibly lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him “a guy with nukes and no friends”.
When asked about Biden’s alleged comments on Macron, Scholz, Johnson, and Putin, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement that “this anonymous gossip doesn’t resemble in any way what the president says or thinks about his counterparts, whom he respects and values”.
“President Biden is pleased with the exceptional cooperation between the US and our European allies and partners, including as we address the ongoing crisis of Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders”, Horne added.
The remarks come a few says after Biden told reporters during a joint news conference with Scholz in the wake of their talks that “there is no doubt about Germany’s partnership with the United States. None”.
“Germany is completely reliable, completely, totally thoroughly reliable. I have no doubt about Germany at all”, the 46th US president stressed.
Scholz, however, did not earlier publicly commit to Biden’s pledge to “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine, only saying that Berlin and Washington “are acting together”. According to the German chancellor, both sides are “absolutely united”, and they “will not be taking different steps”.
In a separate development this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Moscow to discuss the situation around Ukraine.
Macron told journalists after the talks that his meeting with Putin helped to avoid an escalation over Ukraine, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the negotiations by noting that the West has not yet shown any readiness to take Russia’s security concerns into account.
He recalled that during his meeting with Macron, Putin expressed regret that the responses by the US and NATO to Russia’s security guarantee proposals are secondary and do not address the fundamental issue and that therefore, the topic remains open.
Moscow put forward draft agreements on security guarantees to NATO and the US in December 2021. The documents include a number of binding commitments aimed at considerably easing tensions between Moscow and the West. They contain calls on the parties not to deploy troops, missile systems, aircraft, and warships in areas where they may be considered a threat to the other side.
The US and NATO are also asked to halt the alliance’s eastward expansion, and scrap plans to incorporate Ukraine or any other country of the former USSR into NATO. Additionally, the alliance is urged to limit the deployment of arms and troops along its eastern flank – specifically in those countries that joined NATO after the end of the Cold War.
Tensions over Ukraine persist amid Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to “invade” the country, which the Kremlin denounced as “alarmism”. Russia has repeatedly underscored that it has the right to deploy forces within its own territory at its own discretion, also pointing to NATO’s growing military activity near Russia’s borders.