Biden to convene with Putin over Ukraine tensions

Following the recent crisis over Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has consented “in principle” to commence a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss.

This proposal was declared by the French presidency after two phone calls between President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Putin, which went on for almost three hours.

According to the White House, the discussions proposed by France will only hold if Russia does not seize Ukraine.

BBC reports that the conference could deliver conceivable diplomatic antidote to one of the disastrous security crises in Europe in decades.

US officials say intelligence suggests Russia is prepared to initiate a military operation, which Moscow refutes.

The second exchange happenned in the early hours of Monday Moscow time, and followed a 15-minute conversation Mr Macron had with Mr Biden.

Mr Macron’s office said details of the possible summit would be discussed during a meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.

As contained in a statement that corroborated the proposal, the White House also said Russia appeared to be “continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon”, and that the US was ready to impose “swift and severe consequences” should it happen.
Russia has massed more than 150,000 troops close to Ukraine’s borders, US estimates say.

US company Maxar said new satellite imagery exhibited multiple new field deployments of armoured equipment and troops from Russian garrisons near the border with Ukraine, indicating increased military readiness.

Mr Putin agreed on the need to “prioritise a diplomatic solution” to the crisis, according to the French presidency. It said “intense work” would be carried out to enable a meeting “in the next few hours” aiming for a ceasefire.

The Kremlin said Mr Putin blamed the Ukrainian military for the escalation of tensions. Ukraine has rejected this, saying Moscow is engaged in a provocation campaign aimed at creating a pretext for an intervention.

However, the French presidency said both leaders agreed to resume talks through the Normandy Format, a group created to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine that includes Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented Mr Putin’s commitments to Mr Macron were a “welcome sign” he might still “engage in finding a diplomatic solution”. However, Mr Johnson called on Mr Putin to “step back from his current threats and withdraw troops from Ukraine’s border”.

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