Face-to-face meeting between Biden and Putin ‘unlikely’ says Blinken

Vladimir Putin
Associated Press-Evan Vucci/Pool Sputnik Kremlin via AP-Mikhail Metzel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that it was “pretty unlikely” that a face-to-face meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin would take place as Russia continues to build up its military along its border with Ukraine.

Blinken appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where host Chuck Todd asked what it would take for Biden to have a one-on-one meeting with Putin, noting that the Russian leader has requested such a meeting following their video conference last week.

On Sunday, the Kremlin said that both Biden and Putin had agreed to more talks going forward during their video call. According to Russian media, Putin said to Biden, “[We will] definitely see each other, I would really want that to happen.”

“What we are looking to see from Russia — and, again, not just us but allies and partners in Europe — we’re looking to see de-escalation,” said Blinken. “We’re looking to see Russia pull back forces from the border. And we’re looking to see Russia engage in good faith in diplomacy and diplomatic dialogue with the Europeans, with Ukraine to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and to give Ukraine its borders back. That’s what we’re looking to see.”

When pressed by Todd on whether a one-on-one in-person meeting could be in the future for Biden and Putin, Blinken said the ongoing aggression from Russia likely would not allow for it to occur.

“Look, in the absence of de-escalation and taking the diplomatic path, seems pretty unlikely. But, you know, they met before in Geneva. There’s no prohibition against meeting in person with Mr. Putin. If he’s once again sending troops into Ukraine, hard to imagine that would be a good context for a meeting,” he said.

During their video call last week, Biden warned that the U.S. and its allies would respond with “strong economic and other measures” if RUssia acts militarily against Ukraine. However, administration officials have stressed that a military response from the U.S. is currently not on the table.

The Group of Seven countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. — released a statement on Sunday condemning Russia’s actions at the Ukraine border.

“We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December,” the statement read.

“We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken biden administration Chuck Todd Foreign relations of Russia Joe Biden Joe Biden Russia–Ukraine relations Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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