Biden says he has ‘no intention’ of meeting with Putin at G20 next month
President Biden on Tuesday said he has no intention of meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit, but that he would consider talking depending on the topic.
“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him. But for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said I want to talk about the release of Griner, I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend,” Biden said, referencing WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been imprisoned in Russia for months.
Global leaders will gather in Bali, Indonesia, next month for the annual summit of major world economies.
Griner, a star in the WNBA and an Olympic gold medalist, was detained in February for bringing vape cartridges with hashish oil into Russia. Griner pleaded guilty last month, but she has insisted she did not intend to break the law. She was later sentenced to nine years in prison.
The Biden administration has been working to broker a deal for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has been held in Russia since 2018 on spying charges that he vehemently denies.
Biden has condemned Putin’s behavior repeatedly since he launched an invasion into Ukraine in February. The move sparked a months long war that has caused the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians, including women and children.
Most recently, Putin responded to a bridge explosion linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula by launching missile strikes into major Ukrainian cities.
“So I’m not about to, nor is anyone else prepared to, negotiate with Russia about them staying in Ukraine, keeping any part of Ukraine, et cetera. So it would depend on specifically what he wanted to talk about,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “But look, he’s acted brutally. He’s acted brutally. I think he’s committed war crimes. And so, I don’t — I don’t see any rationale to meet with him now.”