Last-ditch diplomatic efforts try to avert further Russian invasion of Ukraine

21 February 2022

The White House announced on Feb. 20 that president Joe Biden would ‘in principle’ be ready to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin if Ukraine were not further invaded. The announcement came after a day of phone calls organized by French president Emmanuel Macron that involved calls that day with Putin. Macron is expected to meet with Putin and Biden at this summit.

 

On Feb. 21, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that it is too early to discuss “concrete plans” about a summit. Also, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning to have a call with Putin to discuss the crisis in the afternoon of Feb. 21, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Among others, Scholz is willing to discuss a possible meeting between Putin and Biden.

 

Currently, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov are to meet on Feb. 24 “in Europe” if Ukraine has not been further invaded.

 

Biden said on Feb. 18 that he is sure that Putin has made up his mind on attacking, and Blinken claimed in a CNN State of the Union TV interview on Feb. 20 that Russian military commanders had been given their attack orders and were now preparing the details of their movements.

 

James Hydzik: Both sides are playing for time, in that Ukraine and its allies are trying to maintain peace for as long as possible, and the occupied areas of Eastern Ukraine are engaged in a general call-up for their armies. A Russian call-up is also underway, though the extent of it is unclear. Peskov’s statement does not outright reject a summit, so the glimmer of hope that the Russians will agree is now being dangled before the West.

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