By Oyintari Ben
A day after appearing to extend a conditional invitation to speak with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the White House declared that President Joe Biden has “no intentions” presently of holding talks with Putin about ending the situation in Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday that “we’re just not at a stage currently where conversations seem to be a viable path to approach right now.”
Biden stated during a news conference with Emmanuel Macron on Thursday: “If Mr. Putin decides he wants to find a solution to stop the war, I’m willing to engage with him about it. He still hasn’t done that.”
The White House seems to have used Biden’s remarks as a cautious diplomatic outreach.
When queried about those remarks on Friday, Kirby mentioned that Biden had claimed that Putin had not yet demonstrated any interest in speaking.
“Putin has made it clear that he has no interest in having any form of conversation. In fact, just the opposite,” Kirby remarked.
The president made no mention of the need for negotiations. The only person, who can decide whether and when there will be a negotiated settlement, as well as the specifics of that settlement, is (Ukrainian) President Zelenskyy, according to Kirby.
Putin is prepared for talks with the West, the Kremlin declared on Friday, provided that the West accepts Russia’s “new territories” seized from Ukraine.
Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, and Putin spoke over the phone on Friday as well. “There must be a diplomatic solution as rapidly as feasible, which includes a pullout of Russian forces,” Scholz reportedly told Putin.
Putin, for his part, charged that “Western governments, notably Germany,” enabled Kyiv to reject engaging in talks with Russia.