STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden said he has no immediate plans to contact Vladimir Putin but is prepared to speak with the Russian president if he shows an interest in ending the war in Ukraine, and only in consultation with NATO allies.
"He's inflicting incredible, incredible carnage on the civilian population of Ukraine. Bombing nurseries, hospitals, children's homes. It's sick what he's doing. But the fact of the matter is I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin. // I'm prepared to speak with Mr. Putin if in fact he is, there is an interest in him deciding he is looking for a way to end the war. He hasn't done that yet."
Biden spoke on Thursday at a White House news conference after talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The leaders pledged solidarity with Ukraine against Russia's war and vowed to work together to deal with the economic difficulties the conflict has brought.
Biden put the onus on ending the war, which began with Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, squarely on Putin.
"There's one way for this war to end, the rational way: Putin could pull out of Ukraine, No. 1. It appears he's not going to do that."
Macron said the two nations had a shared responsibility to protect democracies on both sides of the ocean and face the direct and indirect consequences of the war in Ukraine together.
MACRON: "What is at stake in Ukraine is not very far from here in a small country somewhere in Europe, but it's about our values. And it's about our principles. And it's about what we agreed together in the U.N. charter - protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity."
As the leaders met, a Ukrainian presidential advisor said the country's armed forces have lost between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers in the war so far.
In Kherson on Thursday, Ukrainian soldiers patrolled near apartment blocks badly damaged by Russian shelling, as residents vented their fury.
"Beasts. When will those Russians die? My God. May Putin die with them. How long could it last, the kids die… ”
According to the governor, the renewed shelling again cut off electricity to Kherson… but some residents had no plans to leave.
“I was born in Kherson, in Kherson I will die.”