President Biden said Thursday that he has no plans to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin but that he’d be willing to talk with the Russian leader if he was prepared to end the war in Ukraine.
“I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin,” Biden said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is visiting the White House. “I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war. He hasn’t done that yet.”
Russia has maintained that it’s open to talks with the US and Ukraine about the war, but there’s little chance Putin and Biden would be anywhere close on what they think is an acceptable peace deal to end the fighting.
Biden has not held any talks with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, unlike Macron, who has maintained a dialogue with the Russian leader. Macron reaffirmed that he would continue speaking with Putin to “try to prevent escalation and to get some very concrete results.”
While there has been an increase in dialogue between the US and Russia in recent months, prospects for a diplomatic solution to end the war in Ukraine still appear to be slim. Russia pulled out of nuclear arms control talks this week, citing differences with the US over the New START treaty and tensions over Ukraine.
When asked on Thursday about a potential Biden-Putin meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow never “shuns dialogue,” pointing to talks with Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “Anyone who wishes to hold a telephone conversation has the opportunity to do so — our president communicates with everyone without any time constraints,” he said.
In Washington, Biden and Macron reaffirmed they will continue supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia. “We affirm that France and the United States, together with all our NATO allies and the European Union and G7, stand as strong as ever against Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Biden said.