French President Emanuel Macron’s office said in a statement late on Sunday that Democrat President Joe Biden has agreed in “principle” to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a summit aimed at staving off the largest military conflict in Europe since WWII.
“The President of the Republic spoke with the President of the United States, Mr. Joe BIDEN and the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir PUTIN,” the statement said. “He proposed a summit to be held between President BIDEN and President PUTIN and then with relevant stakeholders to discuss security and strategic stability in Europe. Presidents BIDEN and PUTIN have both accepted the principle of such a summit.”
“The substance will have to be prepared by Secretary BLINKEN and Minister LAVROV during their meeting on Thursday 24 February,” the statement continued. “It can only be held at the condition that Russia does not invade Ukraine. The President of the Republic will work with all stakeholders to prepare the content of these discussions.”
The White House released a short statement about the phone call with Macron, saying, “They discussed ongoing diplomacy and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s military buildup on the borders of Ukraine.”
Russia released a much longer statement than Biden did, saying that Putin and Macron “had an in-depth discussion of the developments around Ukraine as well as developments regarding long-term legal security guarantees for the Russian Federation.”
“Considering the current state of affairs, the two presidents found it expedient to step up the search for a diplomatic solution between the foreign ministers and political advisors to the leaders of the Normandy format countries,” the statement later added. “Considering the above factors, Vladimir Putin once again emphasized the need for the US and NATO to take Russia’s demands to ensure its security guarantees as seriously as possible and to respond specifically and to the point.”
The news comes as Putin has amassed approximately 190,000 troops near the Ukraine border, effectively surrounding the country. A U.S. official told reporters on Friday that 40-50% of the up to 190,000 Russian soldiers near Ukraine’s borders are now “in an attack position.”
Russian military forces have reportedly received orders from Putin to invade Ukraine, according to a new report on alleged U.S. intelligence.
“The President was very clear that he is convinced by U.S. intelligence that this invasion will happen, that President Putin decided to do it,” CBS News host Margaret Brennan said during an interview on Sunday. “How was he that certain?”
“Because the intelligence says that Russian troops have actually received orders now, to proceed with the invasion,” CBS News correspondent David Martin said. “So not only are they moving up closer and closer to the border into these attack positions, but the commanders on the ground are making specific plans for how they would maneuver in their sector of the battlefield.”
“They’re doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” he added.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.
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