The United States agreed this Sunday to hold a presidential summit with Russia but made it a condition that the Russians not invade Ukraine first, and insisted that everything points to that attack being “about” to occur.
President Joe Biden “has agreed in principle to meet” with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “provided there has been no invasion” of Ukraine by then, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday night. Sunday.
“Right now, Russia appears to be continuing preparations to (launch) a large-scale attack on Ukraine very soon,” the spokeswoman warned, however.
The summit does not yet have a set date or format because it depends on whether Russia decides to attack Ukraine, “in which case there will be no” meeting, a White House source explained.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, will discuss the details of the meeting at a meeting in Europe on Thursday 24, “as long as Russia does not go ahead with military action”.
PUTIN ALSO ACCEPTS
Putin has also agreed to hold that summit with Biden, according to a statement from the office of French President Emmanuel Macron, who proposed that meeting to his two counterparts.
After speaking once by phone with Biden and twice with Putin, the French president proposed that a summit between Putin and Biden be held first “and then with all the parties involved” on security and strategic stability in Europe, the Elysee said.
However, the United States remains skeptical about the possibility of Russia choosing the diplomatic route, and Blinken himself assured this Sunday that the Kremlin has already launched its “manual” to invade Ukraine.
“Everything we’re seeing points to this being completely serious, that they’re about to invade, ” Blinken said in an interview with CNN television.
The head of US diplomacy cited, as indications, the hostilities in eastern Ukraine and Moscow’s decision to prolong its military presence in Belarus longer than originally announced.
However, he assured that Biden, who this Sunday analyzed the situation in Ukraine with his national security team, is willing to talk to Putin “at any time and in any format to prevent a war.”
“Until the tanks are rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from doing this,” he stressed.
THE ALLEGED KREMLIN ORDER TO INVADE
In recent days, the United States has deployed an unprecedented strategy that involves publicly explaining, in as many details as possible, how a Russian attack on Ukraine could unfold, with the aim of disrupting the Kremlin’s alleged plans.
Biden went on Friday to declare that he was “convinced” that Putin had already made the decision to invade Ukraine.
Several media outlets assured this Sunday that Biden’s statement was based on information received by US intelligence agencies last week, according to which the Kremlin has already given orders to Russian military commanders to invade Ukraine.
As a result, between 40 and 50% of the more than 150,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine have begun to prepare for combat, according to official sources cited by The New York Times.
Those alleged orders from Russia could still be annulled, and it is possible that what US intelligence intercepts are disinformation that the Kremlin may have spread to confuse the West, official sources quoted by the CNN network clarified.
SIGNS OF A POSSIBLE ATTACK
However, according to The New York Times, US agencies have a “high degree of confidence” in the quality of their information, saying that Russia is already taking steps that the United States had anticipated as part of a possible prelude to an invasion.
“All the steps leading up to the actual invasion seem to be happening,” Blinken said.
For Washington, the attacks with artillery pieces registered this Saturday in eastern Ukraine and the accusations of pro-Russian separatists in Donbas about an alleged Ukrainian offensive against them are signs that Putin has put his plan into action.
The head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, warned in an interview with ABC News that the military capacity that Russia has deployed on the other side of the Ukraine border is “very dangerous”, and considered it “very likely” that, if Putin invades, tanks arrive in the Ukrainian capital.
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoli Antonov, downplayed the fact that Russia and Belarus have decided to extend the inspection time of the forces that have participated in their military exercises beyond this Sunday when their end was scheduled.
“There is no plan to start a war. We don’t want a war,” the Russian diplomat insisted in an interview with CBS News.