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Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. and Russian officials have agreed to hold security talks on Jan. 10 amid escalating tensions over Ukraine, a National Security Council spokesperson confirmed Monday.

Driving the news: With Russia's positioning of nearly 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, U.S. and European allies have warned of a potential large-scale Russian invasion early next year.

The big picture: President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call earlier this month that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians.

  • U.S. officials have also said the U.S. is prepared to send additional military aid to Ukraine and increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's eastern flank.
  • Putin, who opposes those types of exercises, demanded a guarantee that NATO will not expand east. Biden administration officials previously said they would consider the demands, but called some of them "unacceptable."
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov echoed Russia's demand on Tuesday, saying he hoped the Jan. 10 talks would lead to security guarantees from the West, per Reuters.

What they're saying: Biden’s "approach on Ukraine has been clear and consistent: Unite the alliance behind two tracks: deterrence and diplomacy. We are unified as an Alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moves on Ukraine," a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

  • "But we are also unified in our willingness to engage in principled diplomacy with Russia," the spokesperson added.
  • "When we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will put our concerns on the table with Russia's activities as well. We will adhere to the principle of 'nothing about our Allies and partners without our Allies and partners, including Ukraine.'"
  • "There will be areas where we can make progress, and areas where we will disagree. That's what diplomacy is about."
  • The spokesperson added that Russia and NATO are scheduled to meet Jan. 12, and a broader meeting including other European officials, Washington and Moscow is set for Jan. 13.

Go deeper: U.S. to consider Russia's NATO proposal, but calls some demands "unacceptable"

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. accuses Russia of preparing "false flag" operation to attack Ukraine

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The U.S. claims to have information indicating that Russia has "already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine," laying the groundwork for a potential pretext to invade, according to a U.S. official.

Why it matters: Diplomatic talks between the U.S., its European allies and Russia failed to produce a breakthrough this week, raising fears that Moscow will invade Ukraine and unleash a devastating new war.

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. confirms Russia arrested REvil ransomware hackers

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in Moscow in June 2021. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Russia's security agency said Friday it arrested members of the Russia-based cyber gang REvil that was responsible for multiple massive ransomware attacks against U.S. companies last year.

The latest: A senior administration official confirmed on Friday afternoon that Russia informed the U.S. that it arrested the alleged hackers, including an individual responsible for the cyberattack that crippled the Colonial Pipeline.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.