- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2022

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that tentative plans for a meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week have been scrapped.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden would not meet with his Russian counterpart unless Russia takes steps to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine and withdraws its troops from two separatist enclaves inside its neighbor’s territory.

Although Ms. Psaki said the proposed meeting has been nixed, she said the door was open to future meetings between the world leaders.

“We’re never going to completely close the door to diplomacy,” she said during the daily White House press briefing.

Ms. Psaki’s comments follow Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s announcement that he was canceling a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that had been scheduled for Thursday.

Earlier this week, the White House said Mr. Biden had agreed “in principle” to meet with Mr. Biden as long as Russia does not invade Ukraine.

That announcement came before Mr. Putin sent forces into two Ukraine territories controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

The Kremlin had doused cold water on those plans, calling talk of such a meeting premature.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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