US President Joe Biden said on Friday the continued presence of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border has not deterred him from wanting to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a potential summit.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said tens of thousands of Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border have remained there after Moscow announced an end to military exercises in the area on April 22, and ordered Russian troops to return to places of permanent deployment.
“We have seen some reduction in the number of Russian troops, but tens of thousands remain, and we are also seeing that Russia has kept a lot of weapons … and equipment,” Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
Asked about the matter at the White House, Biden said the continued mass buildup of Russian troops “does not impact on my desire to have a one-on-one meeting” with Putin.
“And you notice, he had more troops before. He’s withdrawn troops. There’s still troops amassed, but significantly less than he had a month ago,” the president said.
Biden has offered to hold a summit with Putin in Europe in June when he is expected to visit the continent for a week and G7 meeting and NATO summit. No date has yet been set, however.
Source: Anadolu Agency