The White House said US President Joe Biden has “no intention” at this time to enter into negotiations with President Vladimir Putin over ending the war in Ukraine, a day after Biden appeared to make a conditional offer. to speak with his Russian counterpart.
“We’re just not at a point now where talks appear to be a fruitful avenue to pursue at this time,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday.
In a press conference on Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden said: “I am prepared to speak to Mr Putin if there is in fact an interest in him deciding that he is looking for a way to end the war. He has not. done”. that yet.”
Biden’s comments appeared to be a cautious diplomatic overture from the White House.
When asked about those comments on Friday, Kirby noted that Biden said Putin has not yet shown interest in speaking.
“Putin has shown absolutely no inclination to be interested in dialogue of any kind. In fact, quite the opposite,” Kirby said.
“The president was not indicating at all that now is the time for talks. In fact, he has been consistent that only (Ukrainian) President Zelenskyy can determine if and when there will be a negotiated deal, and what the circumstances are around that deal. would be seen,” Kirby said.
The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin is ready to negotiate with the West, as long as the West recognizes Russia’s “new territories” taken from Ukraine.
In a statement, the Kremlin said the West must accept Putin’s proclamation that the southern Kherson region and three other partially occupied regions of Ukraine now belong to Russia before talks can take place. The invasion of Russia has been condemned as illegal by most countries.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “The President of the Russian Federation has always been, is and remains open to negotiations to ensure our interests.”
Also on Friday, Putin spoke by phone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He is quoted as telling Putin that “there must be a diplomatic solution as quickly as possible, which includes the withdrawal of Russian troops.”
For his part, Putin accused “Western states, including Germany” of making it possible for kyiv to refuse to negotiate with Russia.
“Attention was drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, which are injecting weapons into the Kiev regime and training the Ukrainian army,” the Kremlin said.
An aircraft that was destroyed during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces is seen at the Kherson International Airport in Kherson, Ukraine, December 2, 2022.
In a written statement, Scholz’s spokesman said that “the chancellor in particular condemned Russian airstrikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and stressed Germany’s determination to support Ukraine by ensuring its defense capability against Russian aggression.”
Speculation about negotiations to end the war has grown as Moscow’s military advances in Ukraine have stalled and, in some cases, been reversed. Russian missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have left millions of Ukrainians without electricity, heat and water as winter approaches.
President Biden has not spoken to Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine. Last March, Biden called Putin “a war criminal.”
On Thursday, France announced its support for the creation of a special court to try those accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was “outraged” by France’s position.
“We demand that French diplomats, who are so attentive to human rights issues, do not divide people into ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘ours’ and ‘not ours’,” the Foreign Ministry said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the EU will try to establish a specialized court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia during its invasion.
Russia has denied targeting civilians and other war crimes.
UN-appointed investigators are examining whether Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, leaving millions without heat as temperatures plummet, amount to war crimes, a member of the inspection team said on Friday.
Fierce fighting continued on Friday in Ukraine’s Lugansk and Donetsk regions, where the Ukrainian military said it fought off wave after wave of Russian attacks.
kyiv said Russian troops attacked Ukrainian positions in 14 settlements, while carrying out 30 airstrikes and 35 multiple rocket attacks on civilian areas.
Reports from the battlefield could not be independently verified.
The British MoD intelligence update on Ukraine on Friday said: “Russia’s withdrawal from the west bank of the Dnipro River last month has provided the Ukrainian Armed Forces with opportunities to attack additional Russian logistics nodes and lines of communication.” .
“This threat has most likely led Russian logisticians to relocate supply nodes, including rail transfer points, further south and east,” according to the report posted on Twitter. “Russian logistics units will have to perform additional labor-intensive loading and unloading from rail transport to road transport. Subsequently, road movements will remain vulnerable to Ukrainian artillery as they move to supply Russian forward defensive positions.”
The ministry said: “The shortage of ammunition in Russia [exacerbated by these logistics challenges] it is probably one of the main factors currently limiting Russia’s potential to restart effective large-scale offensive ground operations.”
Some of the information in this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.