U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he was willing to discuss peace with Russian President Vladimir Putin under certain conditions.
That is a remarkable attitude change from Biden’s March remarks about the Russian leader. Biden called Putin a “war criminal” in March, insisting the Russian president could not be allowed to remain in power.
It is probably too early for successful talks between Russia, Ukraine and the United States because of conflicting demands.
Biden wants Russia to be serious about getting out of Ukraine. Putin wants the U.S. and Ukraine to recognized annexed parts of Ukraine as Russian territory. Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky wants Russia completely out of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula and the Donbass. Zelensky also wants Russia to pay for reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed during fighting.
Preconditions imposed by some parties will make it harder to get all concerned parties to sit together and seek an end to hostilities in Ukraine.
“Look, there is one way for this war to end the rational way: Putin to pull out of Ukraine,” Biden said Thursday during a White House briefing. “Number one. But it appears he’s not going to do that.”
The president added he has no immediate plans to contact Putin.
Peace talks after an invading country retreated would be anti-climatic and unnecessary. If Russia left Ukraine, the war would effectively be ended.
“I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war,” he explained, adding,” He hasn’t done that yet.”
Russia’s president is amenable to negotiations, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that Russia would not pull out of Ukraine.
“The president of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations in order to ensure our interests,” Peskov told reporters, according to a Reuters report.
Rebekah Koffler, a Russia expert and former DIA intelligence officer for Russian Doctrine & Strategy, told Fox News Digital, “Make no mistake, Putin is not caving.”
“This is likely a distraction,” she added, noting Putin previously talked with Western nations, including the U.S., as he was preparing to invade Ukraine in February.
If Putin is serious about ending the Ukrainian war, Biden said he is happy to sit down with him and see what he has in mind in consultation with France and other NATO leaders.
Biden echoed earlier comments by France’s Macron that Western countries must continue to stand with Ukraine in support of its defense against Russia.
“The idea that Putin is ever going to defeat Ukraine is beyond comprehension,” Biden declared.
Peace initiatives mentioned by the US and French presidents are “naïve and media-oriented,” Italian Tiberio Graziani said Friday, according to a report from TASS.
“As a matter of fact, the negotiating table [on Ukraine] already exists and it was organized by [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” Graziani reportedly told TASS. “And Macron and Biden had better sit down at it. But, it looks like they cannot do that because of their Western superiority, which trumps all.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine nine months ago, Biden and Putin have not spoken, according to a Fox News report.
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