WASHINGTON: After a long silence, US President Joe Biden said he would speak to Vladimir Putin for the first time in weeks about ending the war.
Vice President Joe Biden was giving remarks during a state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron said he plans to speak to Putin again, even after his recent trip to Washington. He also cautioned against cutting off communication with Russia.
At a joint news conference with Macron, Biden said he has no immediate plans to contact Putin but left open the possibility.
“I’m going to speak to Mr. Putin, but only if he’s shown an interest in peace,” Joe Biden said. Up until now, he hasn’t done that.
“If that’s the case, then in consultation with my French and NATO friends, I’ll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he has in mind. He hasn’t done so yet.”
Biden and Macron both vowed long-term support to Ukraine as it fights off Russian invaders.
Biden said, “There’s one way for this war to end — the rational way. Putin needs to pull out of Ukraine, number one. But it looks like he won’t.”
“He’s doing terrible things to those kids in the hospital and the orphanage,” he said.
“The notion that Putin could ever defeat Ukraine is incomprehensible,” said Biden.
“He miscalculated every single thing he initially calculated.”
Before the surprise invasion of Ukraine, Russia was consistently gathering along the border. In an effort to stop them, both close advisers of Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned about consequences if Russia made any aggressive moves.
Blinken has spoken to his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just once since the invasion. This was when they were discussing a proposal to release American prisoners.
Macron announced that he planned to speak with Putin, in part, to discuss the security of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine.
“I will continue to talk with President Putin,” Macron said, calling for efforts “to prevent escalation and obtain concrete results.”
Macron said he would, like Biden, not push Ukrainian president Zelenskyy into any peace plan that he does not accept.
“I would never ask the Ukrainians to compromise in ways that they cannot accept,” Macron said.
President Macron said that Zelenskyy has expressed a “real willingness” to pursue peace, adding, “Our job together is to work together with him.”
Zelenskyy has been a fervent supporter of Ukraine retaking all territory seized by Russia.