Biden Agrees ‘In Principle’ to Meet With Putin … If Russia Hasn’t Invaded Ukraine

By The Stream Published on February 20, 2022

Joe Biden has “accepted in principle” to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, but  only if an invasion of Ukraine hasn’t happened. A summit to discuss “security and strategic stability in Europe”  would occur after Secretary of State Tony Blinken meets with his Russian counter-part next week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced in a statement. 

“As the President has repeatedly made clear, we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” Psaki stated.

U.S. intelligence insists Putin has given his commanders the order to invade. And the White House says, “Currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon.” This after predicting last week an invasion would be launched February 16.

“We are always ready for diplomacy,” said Psaki, “We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war.” 

Why Wait on Sanctions? Kamala Harris’ Garbled Answer

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded with the U.S. and our allies to levy sanctions now

“We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen, and after our country will be fired at or after we will have no borders or after we will have no economy or parts of our country will be occupied,” Zelenskyy told the Munich Security Conference. “Why would we need those sanctions then?”

Kamala Harris was asked if the threat of sanctions would deter Putin, especially given the U.S. conviction he’s already decided to invade. She answered she “strongly believed” they would act as a deterrent. Or at last that’s what she appeared to be saying. The White House transcript of her response reads:

Absolut- — we strongly believe — and remember also that the sanctions are a product not only of our perspective as the United States but a shared perspective among our Allies.  And the Allied relationship is such that we have agreed that the deterrence effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one, especially because — remember, also — we still sincerely hope that there is a diplomatic path out of this moment.

And within the context then of the fact that that window is still opening, altho- — open, although it is absolutely narrowing — but within the context of a diplomatic path still being open, the deterrence effect, we believe, has merit,” 

Secretary of State Blinken put it more bluntly: No sanctions “until bombs start dropping.”

Some 150,000 troops ring the Russian border with Ukraine. 

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