May 4 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Europe next month.
Biden is making his first overseas trip in June with visits scheduled for Britain and Belgium to attend G7, NATO and EU summits.
He told reporters Tuesday that it’s his “hope and expectation” to fit in a meeting with Putin as well.
“We’re working on it,” he added.
After an April 13 phone call between the two leaders, the White House said Biden proposed a bilateral meeting “in the coming months” in another country. Both countries intend to pursue strategic talks on arms control and emerging security issues to build on extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in April that the Biden administration was “increasingly concerned” by escalating Russian aggressions in eastern Ukraine.
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, which prompted sanctions against Russia from former President Barack Obama who called it an “illegitimate move,” with “dangerous risks of escalation.” Since then, skirmishes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country have killed an estimated 14,000 people.
Sommer Brokaw contributed to this report.