“The goal of the conversation is clear — to continue discussing the issues that were on the agenda during the recent conversation via video conference,” Peskov told reporters. That Dec. 7 call focused on the Russian troop movements, which have unsettled Ukraine and other European allies, as well as Moscow’s demand for security guarantees.

Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are set to discuss the Russian troop buildup near Ukraine on Thursday during their second call in recent weeks amid little progress toward ending the smoldering crisis, AP reports.

The White House indicated that Biden would make clear to Putin that a diplomatic path remains open even as the Russians have moved an estimated 100,000 troops toward Ukraine and Putin has stepped up his demands for security guarantees precluding NATO from expanding to Ukraine.

Those demands are to be discussed by senior U.S. and Russian officials during talks on Jan. 10 in Geneva.

But Biden will reiterate to Putin that for there to be “real progress” in the talks they must be conducted in “a context of de-escalation rather than escalation,” according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters before the call. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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