US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin began virtual talks on Ukraine and other subjects on Tuesday, Russian state television reported.
The conversation comes amid Western fears that Moscow plans to attack Ukraine.
President Biden is expected to warn Mr Putin that Russia could face the toughest economic sanctions yet if they choose to invade their southern neighbour.
One source claimed the sanctions could target Russia’s biggest banks and Moscow’s ability to convert roubles into dollars and other currencies.
The threat of sanctions is designed to dissuade Mr Putin from using tens of thousands of troops massed near the Ukrainian border to launch an attack.
The Kremlin, which said before the meeting it did not expect any breakthroughs, has denied harbouring such intentions and has said its troop posture is defensive.