President Biden in his second call with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month warned that the U.S. will respond "decisively" if Moscow invades Ukraine.
Russia was again urged to ease its military buildup near Ukraine ahead of a pivotal month of talks.
Putin requested the call, the second between the leaders this month, ahead of scheduled talks between senior U.S. and Russian officials set for Jan. 10.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia spoke with President Biden for 50 minutes about the escalating crisis with Ukraine, but his intentions remained unclear.
Putin has demanded swift acceptance of a proposed security deal that would bar Ukraine from ever joining NATO and rule out any other eastward expansion by the U.S.-led military alliance.
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