At a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, President Biden said he would only consider meeting with President Vladimir Putin if the Russian leader were ready to end the war in Ukraine.
- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
INTERPRETER: We hear that you will be talking to President Putin any time soon. What is your approach? And as the Ukrainian War seems to be at a turning point, do you feel realistic that President Zelensky is putting a condition to open negotiations that is the return of Crimea to Ukraine?
JOE BIDEN: Look, there's one way for this war to end, the rational way, Putin to pull out of Ukraine, number one. But it appears he's not going to do that. He's paying a very heavy price for failing to do it. But he's inflicting incredible, incredible carnage on the civilian population of Ukraine, bombing nurseries, hospitals, children's homes. It's sick what he's doing. But the fact of the matter is, I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin is-- let me choose my words very carefully. 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. He hasn't done that yet. If that's the case, in consultation with my French and my NATO friends, I'll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants, has in mind. He hasn't done that yet.
In the meantime, I think it's absolutely critical what [? Emmanuel ?] said. We must support Ukrainian people. The idea that Putin is ever going to defeat Ukraine is beyond comprehension. Imagine, I'm trying to occupy that country for the next 2,5, 10, 20 years-- if they could-- if they could. He's miscalculated every single thing he initially calculated. He thought he'd be greeted with open arms by the Russian speaking portions of the Ukrainian population. Go back and read his speech when he invaded-- when I said they were going to invade, and they did when we said they were. Go back and read the speech he made. He talked about him with needing to be another Peter the Great. He talked about the need for the people of Kyiv as the mother load of Russian identity in the beginning, et cetera, et cetera.
He just miscalculated across the board. And so the question is what is his decision-- how does he get himself out of the circumstance he's in? I'm prepared if he's willing to talk to find out what he's willing to do. But I'll only do it in consultation with my data allies. I'm not going to do it on my own.