- The Washington Times - Friday, May 7, 2021

President Biden said Friday he still plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite the recent buildup of his troops on the Ukrainian border.

Mr. Biden said there are still “significantly less” Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border than a month ago.

“It does not impact my desire to have a one-on-one meeting,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House.

Mr. Biden said he is “confident” that he will meet Mr. Putin in June, but they have yet to settle on a time and place.

Russia has stationed nearly 80,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, according to The New York Times, which reported it to be the largest Russian force amassed since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Mr. Putin’s show of force is shaping up as an early test of Mr. Biden’s approach to foreign policy and has fed concerns over Russia’s influence in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this week that the United States could increase assistance to Ukraine.

“I can tell you, Mr. President, that we stand strongly with you. Partners do as well. I heard the same thing when I was at NATO a couple of weeks ago, and we look to Russia to cease reckless and aggressive actions,” Mr. Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to Kyiv.

• This story is based in part on wire reports.

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