Updated Dec 1, 2022 - World

Biden, appearing with Macron, zeroes in on holding Russia accountable

Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference

Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the White House on December 1. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden vowed that the U.S. and France would work alongside their allies to hold Russia accountable for the war in Ukraine during a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

Why it matters: This is the first state visit of the Biden administration and comes after last year's Australia-U.S.-UK (AUKUS) submarine deal left France blindsided, temporarily hurting relations between the two countries.

  • The war is stretching into its tenth month and persistent Russian missile strikes threaten to leave many Ukrainians without electricity, water and heat as winter approaches.

Driving the news: Biden said that he would be "prepared to speak with" Russian President Vladimir Putin provided Putin shows an interest in "looking for a way to end the war."

  • "He hasn't done that yet. If that's the case, in consultation with my French and my NATO friends, I'll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants, has in mind," Biden said.
  • In the meantime, "we must support the Ukrainian people."

What they're saying: "We affirm that France and the United States, together with all our NATO allies and the European Union and G7, stand as strong as ever against Russia's brutal war against Ukraine," Biden said.

  • Biden called France "one of our strongest partners" and praised France's welcoming of Ukrainian refugees.
  • Macron said they discussed initiatives “to keep supporting and strengthen our support to the Ukrainian troops and enable them to resist.”
  • He added that they'd focus on building sustainable peace as well as food and energy security.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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