Biden agrees to meet Putin ‘in principle’ if no invasion

US President Joe Biden (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange on June 16, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Peter Klaunzer | Getty Images

President Joe Biden has accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what could represent a last-ditch effort at diplomacy over tensions surrounding Ukraine and a possible avenue to avert a looming invasion directed by Moscow.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Sunday evening that the summit between the two world leaders would happen following a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That meeting is scheduled for later this week.

“As the President has repeatedly made clear, we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin following that engagement, again, if an invasion has not happened. We are always ready for diplomacy.”

News of a possible one-on-one between Biden and Putin comes as the White House warns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come at any time. Moscow has for weeks built up its military force on its neighbor’s northern and eastern border, with recent totals putting Russia’s force at about 190,000.

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