Kremlin on proposed Putin-Biden summit: maybe

The Kremlin isn't saying "yes" to a proposed summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, but it isn't saying "no" either.

It would depend on Washington's behavior, Russia says.

As the conflict in Eastern Ukraine surges again, Biden called Putin on Tuesday (April 13) to propose a meeting of the estranged leaders to tackle a raft of disputes.

Putin's spokesman Dimitry Peskov played down the prospect of a summit early on Wednesday (April 14), saying it was too early to talk about it in tangible terms.

He later said the summit was contingent on future U.S. actions, according to the RIA news agency, in what looked like a reference to potential U.S. sanctions.

Russia has been preparing to be hit by new sanctions since Biden said last month that Putin would pay a price for alleged Russian meddling in the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Moscow denies interfering.

Meanwhile, the Russian navy began a military exercise on Wednesday ahead of the expected arrival of two U.S. warships in the Black Sea.

Moscow has warned the U.S. warships to stay well away from Crimea "for their own good."

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and fighting has increased in recent weeks in eastern Ukraine,

where government forces have battled Russian-backed separatists in a seven-year conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.