Kremlin expects no breakthrough at Putin-Biden talks, urges calm

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A view shows a screen displaying a flag with the Russian coat of arms during a news briefing, organized by Russian defence and foreign ministries and dedicated to SSC-8/9M729 cruise missile system, at Patriot Expocentre near Moscow, Russia January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said it expected no breakthrough later on Tuesday at virtual talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden over Ukraine, but urged people to remain calm despite mounting tensions.

Biden and Putin are expected to hold a video conference at around 1500 GMT amid Western fears about a Russian troop build-up near Ukraine. Biden plans to warn Putin of severe economic consequences if Russia invades, U.S. officials said on Monday. read more

Russia has denied it plans to attack Ukraine.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow regretted what he called the White House's predictable tendency to resort to sanctions, but said that Putin was ready to hear out Biden's concerns and that the Kremlin leader wanted to set out his own.

"There's no need to expect any breakthroughs from this conversation. It is a working conversation at a very difficult period," Peskov said.

"The escalation of tensions in Europe is off the scale, it is extraordinary, and this requires a personal discussion at the highest level," he added.

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Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn

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