Joe Biden discusses ending Nord Stream 2 in February
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On Wednesday, President Joe Biden, asked if he would meet Putin at the G20, said he didn’t see a good reason for a sit-down with the Kremlin chief. He told CNN: “It would depend on specifically what he wanted to talk about.
“He’s acted brutally, I think he’s committed war crimes, so I don’t see any rationale to meet with him now.”
The US leader said that he would be prepared to discuss the release of American basketball player Brittney Griner jailed in Russia, should Putin participate to the next G20 meeting.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it still remained to be seen if President Vladimir Putin would attend November’s G20 summit on the resort island of Bali.
“A large number of international forums are planned for November,” Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters.
“If you are asking about the G20, then there is still a lot of time before the G20, as well as before other forums – we’ll wait and see,” Ushakov said.
Asked about Biden’s remarks, Ushakov said: “I can say that Russia, we, never give up on negotiations and any useful international contacts.”
“We never push away an outstretched hand. But if we feel, and understand that a partner does not want to meet for one reason or another, then we do not impose ourselves.”
President Biden also doubted Putin would resort to nuclear weapons. A senior NATO official said a Russian nuclear strike would almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies and potentially NATO.
Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which he says includes the four regions he declared annexed last month.
In the past 24 hours Russian missiles hit more than 40 settlements, while Ukraine’s air force carried out 32 strikes on 25 Russian targets, Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff said.
Russia also targeted a settlement in the region of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv using explosive drones early on Thursday, the region’s administration said on the Telegram messaging app.
Governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said based on preliminary information the strikes were caused by Iranian-made loitering munitions. These are often known as “kamikaze drones”.
Critical infrastructure facilities were hit by the drones, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Zelensky’s office.
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Missiles struck more than 30 multi-storey and private houses, gas pipelines and power lines in the city of Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region, and more than 2,000 families were left without electricity, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Russia’s missile attacks were a sign of weakness. “Russia is actually losing on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said.
As his forces have lost ground since September, Putin has intensified the conflict, ordering the call-up of hundreds of thousands of reservists, proclaiming the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons to protect Russia.
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