Russia vowed to continue talking following a video call between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden, despite a massive troop buildup on the border of Ukraine and expectations that Moscow could order an invasion as early as January.
BIDEN, PUTIN SUMMIT: 4 THINGS TO KNOW
A Kremlin summary of the conversation stated that Biden emphasized the "allegedly 'threatening' nature" of Russian troop movement near Ukraine and "outlined sanctions and measures" that the United States would take if the situation continued to unravel.
"In response, Vladimir Putin stressed that the responsibility should not be shifted onto the shoulders of Russia, since it is NATO that is making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory and is building up its military potential at our borders," the readout continued. "Therefore, Russia is seriously interested in obtaining reliable, legally fixed guarantees excluding the expansion of NATO in the eastern direction and the deployment of offensive strike weapons systems in the states adjacent to Russia."
GOP SENATOR URGES BIDEN TO SHOW PUTIN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT GOING TO 'SIT BACK'
The Kremlin added that the leaders agreed to have their representatives engage in "substantial consultations" on the issue. "When exchanging views on information security, both sides emphasized the importance of an actively ongoing dialogue on this topic," according to the statement.
In general, the conversation was "frank and businesslike," the Kremlin said.
The White House also released a readout of the call saying that Biden "voiced the deep concerns" the United States and European Allies have about Russia's military activities around Ukraine and "would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation."
Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday that Putin was "deeply engaged" in the conversation, and that President Biden emphasized a focus on diplomacy rather than escalation.
U.S. intelligence officials conclude Russia is planning for a military offensive by as soon as early next year. A senior administration official said Russia's plan includes 100 battalion tactical groups and an estimated 175,000 military personnel, half of whom are already near the border. Intelligence officials have also noted an uptick in Russian propaganda aimed at disparaging NATO and Ukraine's government.
The maneuvers have stoked fear that Russia could attempt a takeover like its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russian troops have backed separatist forces on Ukraine's border for years, though the Kremlin has long denied direct involvement in that conflict.
"Both the forces being the deployed and the areas in which they are being deployed, plus other indications - night maneuverings, etc. - clearly suggest Russia is taking steps that would make it possible to invade," said Ivo Daalder, who served as U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013.
Fox News' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report