President Biden said Thursday that he has “no immediate plans” to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and would do so only if Putin was looking to end his ongoing war in Ukraine.
"I'm prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if, in fact, there is an interest in him deciding he's looking for a way to end the war,” Biden said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House. “He hasn't done that yet."
Biden said that if Putin were to signal a willingness to end the war, he would consult with NATO allies and would “be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants, has in mind.”
He added: "The idea Putin is ever going to defeat Ukraine is beyond comprehension."
Biden has previously described Putin as a “war criminal” who should be tried for war crimes over the slaughter of Ukrainian civilians.
“He's inflicting incredible, incredible carnage on the civilian population of Ukraine,” Biden said Thursday. “Bombing nurseries, hospitals, children's homes. It's sick, what he's doing.”
According to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at least 6,655 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since Russia’s military invasion began on Feb. 24, though the agency believes the actual death toll is probably much higher.
In recent days, Russian forces have targeted civilian infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities, cutting off power as temperatures begin to plummet in Eastern Europe.
Biden said that it is "absolutely critical" for the U.S. and France to support the Ukrainian people as winter approaches.
Macron — who has maintained communications with Putin while urging diplomacy — said, "We will never urge the Ukrainians to make a compromise which isn't acceptable to them."