President Biden on Thursday told reporters that despite newly instated sanctions on Russia, he hopes President Vladimir Putin joins him for a summit in Europe this summer.
Russian authorities are non-committal to the president’s invitation for a summit — first suggested by Biden earlier this week — saying it depends on U.S. behavior.
“When I spoke to President Putin, I expressed my belief that communication between the two of us personally and directly, was to be essential in moving forward to a more effective relationship,” Biden said during a Thursday press conference. “I believe the United States and Russia could launch a strategic stability dialog to pursue cooperation on arms control and security.”
Biden appeared to be extending an olive branch during his Thursday remarks, reflecting a slight change from the president’s previously stern condemnation of the Kremlin since entering office, including his accusation that Putin was a “killer.”
The president said his decision to hit Russia with sanctions was a “measured” move following reports of their involvement in cyberattacks and election meddling last year.
Though several Republicans in congress have called on the president to do more in the way of retaliating against Russia, the president stood by his decision to expel 10 Russian officials from the U.S., and the enforcement of sweeping sanctions.
“I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so,” and “chose to be proportionate,” Biden said. “The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship.”
Biden said now is the time to “deescalate” tensions to find areas to work together that benefit not only both nations, but the global community.
“Of course, further work on this proposal to meet in a European country will only be possible taking into account an analysis of the actual situation and further steps from our counterparts,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier this week, reported Reuters.