Biden accepts 'in principle' meeting with Putin White House

WASHINGTON: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that President Joe Biden has “accepted in principle” a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Psaki’s confirmation late Sunday night of a potential Biden-Putin summit followed a statement by the Elysee Palace in France saying the two Presidents have “accepted in principle” a virtual meeting brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron, who held separate phone calls with Biden and Putin on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Press Secretary said the summit would happen after a meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later this week, provided that Moscow “does not proceed with military action”.

“We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war. And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon,” Psaki said in a statement

The latest development came as the Biden administration estimates that Russia has amassed up to 190,000 troops around Ukraine, including separatist forces in the conflict-hit Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.