Biden, Putin May Sit Down for Ukraine Summit, France Says

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to meet over the situation in Ukraine, provided Russia does not attack its neighbour, according to the office of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Elysee Palace said in a statement issued early Monday that Macron has proposed a conference between the two presidents to discuss “security and strategic stability in Europe.”

“Presidents Biden and Putin have both supported the premise of such a summit,” according to the statement, before adding that such a meeting would be unthinkable if Russia attacked Ukraine, as Western nations fear it intends to.

The White House has not immediately responded to a message requesting a response for their position on the matter.

Following a flurry of phone contacts between Macron and presidents on both sides of the Atlantic, the statement comes after a week of heightened tensions sparked by Russia’s build-up along the Ukrainian border.

The Belarusian defense ministry stated that Russia will prolong training in Belarus that were set to finish on Sunday, further fraying nerves. Satellite photographs purported to reveal increased Russian armoured and military deployments near Ukraine.

After a two-hour meeting of his National Security Council, Biden canceled a trip to Delaware and will remain in Washington, according to the White House.

Maxar, the US-based satellite imagery firm, detected multiple increased deployments of Russian troops in woods, farms, and industrial regions as close as 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Ukraine’s border — a departure from what had been witnessed in recent weeks, according to Maxar.

“Until recently, the majority of the deployments were mostly seen positioned at or near existing garrisons and training zones,” according to the firm.

“Everything we’re seeing says this is dead serious,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confided to CNN, adding that the West was equally prepared if Moscow invaded.

“We will use every chance and minute we have until the tanks are rolling and the jets are flying to try if diplomacy can still discourage President Putin from pushing this ahead.”