The White House said Sunday that President Biden had agreed "in principle" to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Ukraine crisis. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the two leaders could speak after Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Feb. 24, provided Russia has not sent troops into Ukraine. "We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war," Psaki said.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with Putin on Sunday to push negotiations for a possible ceasefire between Russian-backed forces and Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country, the Élysée Palace said. The two spoke again on Monday, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, who added that "tensions are rising" and that it was "too early to to talk about concrete plans for organizing any summits."