Russian President Vladimir Putin & his US counterpart Joe Biden have agreed to a summit held only if Moscow does not invade Ukraine; France made an announcement on Monday following a frantic new round of diplomacy to avert an all-out war.
Both leaders have agreed in principle to the summit, proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, his office said, with the White House confirming Biden’s willingness, though it was notably cautious.
A senior administration official said, “Timing to be determined. Format to be determined, so it’s all completely national.”
The Elysee said that the summit would be expanded to “relevant stakeholders” and that preparations would start between Russia and the United States on Thursday.
The possible breakthrough came after Washington released a warning for an imminent invasion, & Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for a surge in shellings on the front line separating Kyiv’s forces from separatists from Moscow.
The bombardments have proceeded with Ukrainians fleeing to cellars & other shelters, while some civilians have been evacuated.
The White House has released a warning in its statement that it was still ready to impose dire consequences if Russia invades Ukraine. “And now, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon,” US press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Washington and other Western capitals said that Russia has deployed over 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and is ready to launch a full-scale assault.
Meanwhile, Moscow disagrees with any intentions to invade its neighbour but has demanded that the NATO alliance permanently rule out Ukraine’s bid for membership and called for the withdrawal of Western forces deployed in eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.
The announcement on the summit came after President Emmanuel Macron held his second call with President Putin.
During the meeting, Putin blamed the increase in violence on the front line on “provocations carried out by the Ukrainian security.”