WASHINGTON — National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan again warned that Russian forces are mobilizing for an impending, bloody invasion of Ukraine less than a day after President Joe Biden agreed “in principle” to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin should Russia not to invade.
“All signs look like President Putin and the Russians are proceeding with a plan to execute a major military invasion of Ukraine,” Sullivan said during a Monday interview on ABC News. He added that over the last 24 hours, Russian forces have been “getting in position to attack.”
Sullivan reiterated the Biden administration is working on dual tracks, ready to “respond decisively” in case of invasion yet ready “to settle this peacefully” during a Monday interview on NBC News’ “Today.”
On Sunday, President Joe Biden agreed “in principle” to hold a summit with Putin should the Kremlinnot to invade, a move brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron in a series of calls over the weekend.
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Macron’s office said both leaders had “accepted the principle of such a summit,” to be followed by a broader summit meeting also involving other “relevant stakeholders to discuss security and strategic stability in Europe.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are set to lay the groundwork for the summit when they meet Thursday.
The summit announcement followed a flurry of calls by Macron to Putin, Biden and also British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Putin and Biden could meet if they consider it necessary, but emphasized that “it’s premature to talk about specific plans for a summit.”
“When president Macron asked President Biden yesterday if he was prepared in principle to meet with President Putin if Russia did not invade of course President Biden said yes,” Sullivan said.“The meeting is possible if the leaders consider it feasible,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.