Biden agrees to meeting with Putin, as long as there’s no invasion

Washington Examiner

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President Joe Biden has agreed to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as long as Russia does not invade Ukraine, the White House announced on Sunday night.

The two presidents will meet following a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which is set for later this week in Europe.
“Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

She noted that the administration is “committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” while they “are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war.”

“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to attack Ukraine in the coming week — the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv,” Biden said Friday from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

Additional administration officials have reiterated Biden’s sentiment about the likelihood of an invasion and their messages have gotten more dire in recent days.

The U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe estimated in a new statement on Friday that Russia’s troop buildup is somewhere “between 169,000 and 190,000,” when counting the troops along the border in Russia and Belarus, occupied Crimea, and forces in eastern Ukraine.

Putin has repeatedly said their demand is for NATO not to expand eastward, including into Ukraine, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that’s a goal for his country. Zelensky recently accused trans-Atlantic leaders of adopting an “appeasement” policy towards Russia that had allowed the crisis on Ukraine’s borders to escalate, a hint at a troubling period from Europe’s past.

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