Vladimir Putin, Russian President, will on Saturday meet with the United States President, Joe Biden, and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, after the United States warned that Moscow could invade Ukraine in days.
On Friday, the United States said a Russian invasion to Ukraine starting with civilians caught under aerial bombing could begin in days as it warned US citizens to leave within 48 hours, AFP reports.
In a diplomatic flurry to head off a possible invasion, Putin will speak with Biden and Macron on Saturday.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said he will also speak to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, terming this “a pivotal moment” in the crisis and that his government was “prepared for whatever should happen”.
“We continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving around Ukraine’s borders,” Blinken said at a press conference in Fiji.
“If Russia is genuinely interested in resolving this crisis of its own making through diplomacy and dialogue, we’re prepared to do that,” he said.
The White House had earlier warned of an attack by the more than 100,000 Russian troops currently massed next to Ukraine even while the Beijing Olympics were still underway.
Blinken added that dialogue would only be possible if accompanied by “de-escalation”.
“So far, we’ve only seen escalation from Moscow,” he said, adding Russia has yet to respond to “some of the ideas” floated by Washington. “I’ll be asking Mr Lavrov if we can anticipate a response in the coming days, to see if we can carry the dialogue forward.”
Blinken declined to confirm whether the United States would be evacuating its embassy staff from Kyiv.
“We’ll have more to say about that in the coming hours,” he said.
On Friday, White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, called on Americans to immediately leave Ukraine, warning a Russian attack “is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians”.
Sullivan spoke shortly after President Biden and six European leaders, the heads of NATO and the European Union held talks on the worst crisis between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War.
A US official said Biden would speak with Putin on Saturday, while Paris said Macron would also be calling the Russian leader on Saturday.