US: Biden agrees to meet Putin if he halts Ukraine attack

US: Biden agrees to meet Putin if he halts Ukraine attack

In what appears to be a last-ditch diplomatic gamble brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House said US President Joe Biden has agreed ‘in principle’ to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, unless he The attack that US officials have warned seems more likely.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was clear that “we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the invasion begins.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due to meet in Europe on Thursday unless there is no further aggression. We are always ready for diplomacy. “We are also prepared to impose swift and dire consequences if Russia chooses to go to war,” Saki said in a statement.

In Kiev, life continued as normal for many, on a mild winter Sunday, with brunch and church services, what Biden said last weekend was an already planned Russian attack. Russia on Sunday scrapped earlier promises to pull back thousands of its troops from Ukraine’s northern border, a move that US leaders said was putting Russia one step closer to a planned invasion of Ukraine. Residents of Ukraine’s capital filled the gold-domed cathedral to pray for peace.

Russia’s action expands on what it said was a military exercise, originally scheduled to end on Sunday, that brought an estimated 30,000 Russian troops to Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor to the north. They are among at least 150,000 Russian troops now stationed outside Ukraine’s borders with tanks, warplanes, artillery and other munitions. The continued deployment of Russian forces in Belarus raised concerns that they could be used to attack Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, a city of about three million people less than three hours away.

Katerina Spanachak, who fled a region in eastern Ukraine when it was occupied by Russian-allied separatists, joined a crowd of devotees at the capital’s St. Michael Monastery to smoke with candles lit by believers. of color, to pray that Ukraine be spared. “We all love life, and we are all united by the love of our lives,” Spanchak said, pausing to compose himself. “We should appreciate it every day. So I think everything will be fine.”

Another worshiper said, “Our joint prayers will help to overcome this tragedy that lies ahead.” Biden’s claim that Putin decided to roll over Russian forces in Ukraine was based on intelligence that Russian frontline commanders have been ordered to begin final preparations for an attack, a US official said on Sunday. . The official described the sensitive intelligence on condition of anonymity.

The United States and several European countries have for weeks accused Putin of building up the forces necessary to invade Ukraine – a West-looking democracy that has sought to break out of Russia’s orbit – and now invade Ukraine. Trying to make up excuses to do it. Western countries have threatened massive sanctions if Putin does. After Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky enthusiastically called on the West on Saturday to do more, US officials on Sunday defended their decision to freeze Russia’s planned financial penalties ahead of any aggression.

“If you pull the trigger on that deterrent, well, it no longer exists as a deterrent,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Fox on Washington’s threat of sanctions. Russia on Saturday conducted nuclear drills as well as conventional exercises in Belarus. , and there are ongoing naval exercises off the coast in the Black Sea.

The announcement that Russia was reversing its pledge to withdraw its forces from Belarus came after two days of continuous shelling along a contact line between Ukrainian troops and Russian-allied separatists in eastern Ukraine, an area that borders Ukraine. and may be of concern to the West. Flashpoint in igniting the conflict. Biden convenes the National Security Council at the White House on Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine. White House officials did not immediately release details of their nearly two-hour discussion.

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