WILMINGTON, Del. – After tough talk between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin over the Russian troop buildup on the Ukraine border, both sides insist they are hopeful that a pathway to easing tensions could open during diplomatic talks set for January.
But with less than two weeks to go before senior U.S. and Russian officials are to meet in Geneva, the chasm is deep and the prospect of finding an exit to the crisis faces no shortage of complications.
Biden on Friday told reporters that he advised Putin when they spoke by phone a day earlier that the upcoming talks could only work if the Russian leader “deescalated, not escalated, the situation” in the days ahead. The U.S. president said he also sought to make plain to Putin that the U.S. and allies stood ready to hit Russia with punishing sanctions if the Russians further invade Ukraine.
“I made it clear to the…