Ukraine: Biden ready to meet Putin 'at any time'

Ukraine: Biden ready to meet Putin 'at any time'
© Belga

U.S. President Joe Biden is ready to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “at any time, in any format” if that can avert war in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.

“We believe President Putin has made the decision” to invade Ukraine, “but until the tanks are actually rolling, and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward,” Blinken said on CNN.

Western officials have warned in the past few days that Moscow has been waging a misinformation campaign against Ukraine to justify an invasion and, in a telephone conversation on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin again blamed “Ukrainian provocations” for the escalation of fighting with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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However, Putin also said he wanted to “intensify” diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict, Belga News Agency reported.

During the conversation, Putin asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the United States to take Russia’s security demands seriously, according to the Kremlin.

These demands are at the heart of the current crisis between Moscow and the West, according to Belga. Among other things, Russia wants NATO to close its doors to former members of the old Soviet bloc, such as Ukraine.

The Elysée said in a statement on Sunday that Presidents Macron and Putin agreed to try to bring about a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

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