President Biden said Thursday he has “no immediate plans” to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin, and will only speak with him if he is “looking for a way to end the war” in Ukraine.
During a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron from the White House Thursday, Biden said the only “rational” way to end the war between Russia and Ukraine is for Putin to “pull out.”
“It appears he’s not going to do that, he’s paying a very heavy price for failing to do it, but he is inflicting incredible, incredible carnage on the civilians of Ukraine, bombing nurseries, hospitals, children’s homes – it’s sick what he’s doing,” Biden said.
“But the fact of the matter is, I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin,” Biden continued, adding that he needs to “choose my words very carefully.”
“I’m prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if, in fact, there is an interest in him deciding, and he’s looking for a way to end the war – he hasn’t done that,” Biden said.
The president added that if Putin does have an interest in doing so, in “consultation” with his “French friends” and NATO allies, he is “happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants” and what he “has in mind.”
Biden stressed that the United States must continue supporting the Ukrainian people, and said Putin “miscalculated” the response from Ukraine.
“The question is, what is his decision? How does he get himself out of the circumstances?” Biden asked. “Then, I’m prepared, if he’s willing to talk, to find out what he’s willing to do.”
“But I’ll only do so in consultation with my NATO allies. I’m not going to do it on my own,” Biden said.
Biden last spoke with Putin on Feb. 12, before he invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. They have not had contact since.
During their last conversation, Biden spoke to Putin about his military buildup on the borders of Ukraine, and according to the White House “was clear” that if Russia invaded, the U.S. and allies would impose “swift and severe costs on Russia.”
During that call, Biden warned that while the United States and allies remained prepared to engage in diplomacy, the U.S. was “equally prepared for other scenarios.”
Biden attended the G-20 summit this month, but avoided a run-in with Putin.
Biden has condemned Putin as a killer and a war criminal for his ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
This week, the Biden administration committed an additional $53 million in aid to Ukraine. In total, the United States has sent nearly $20 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in February.