President Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Tuesday night that he has no “intention” of meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin or negotiating with Russia over Ukraine.
Biden left open to the possibility of discussing a potential prisoner swap for Britney Griner, the WNBA star that was arrested in Russia for drug possession. “Look, I have no intention of meeting with him. But for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said I want to talk about the release of Griner, I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend,” Biden said.
But Biden made clear he has no plans to discuss the war in Ukraine with Putin, insisting that negotiations can’t happen without Ukrainian officials. “So I’m not about to, nor is anyone else prepared to, negotiate with Russia about them staying in Ukraine, keeping any part of Ukraine,” he said.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that US officials have ruled out the idea of encouraging Ukraine to negotiate with Russia even though they don’t think either side could win the war “outright.” The US’s lack of interest in diplomacy comes after President Biden warned the world was closer to nuclear “armageddon” today than at any point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
When discussing his armageddon comments with Tapper, Biden said he didn’t think Putin would use a nuclear weapon. “Well, I don’t think he will, but it is irresponsible of him to talk about it,” he said.
For their part, Russia has said it’s open to talks with the West over Ukraine. The Kremlin said that Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kazakhstan on Thursday, and the two leaders are expected to discuss a Turkish proposal for talks between Russia and the West and an idea for a peace deal.
“Now many say that the Turks are ready to come up with other initiatives in the context of the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said, according to Reuters.
“There are reports in the press that the Turkish side is putting forward specific considerations in this regard, I do not exclude that Erdogan will actively touch on this topic during the Astana contact. So a very interesting and, I hope, useful discussion awaits us,” Ushakov said.