Biden Putin
This combination of pictures created on March 17, 2021 shows US President Joe Biden and and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Image Credit: AFP

Washington: US President Joe Biden is willing to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin “at any time” to defuse Ukraine war tensions, his top diplomat said Sunday, warning Russia appeared on the verge of invading its neighbour.

In a rapid-fire round of US talk shows, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN “everything we’re seeing suggests that this is dead serious, that we are on the brink of an invasion.”

“But until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward.”

Blinken told ABC’s “This Week” Biden has made “very clear that he’s prepared to meet President Putin at any time, in any format, if that can help prevent a war.”

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Sunday agreed to work for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Macron’s office said.

In a phone conversation lasting 105 minutes, they also agreed on “the need to favour a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis and to do everything to achieve one”, the Elysee said, adding that both countries’ foreign ministers would meet “in the coming days”.

Putin “noted that the cause of the escalation is provocations carried out by the Ukrainian security forces,” according to a Kremlin readout of the call, which added however that the two leaders “believe it is important to intensify efforts to find solutions through diplomatic means”.