Joe Biden greets Emmanuel Macron, as the Bidens host the Macrons for a State Dinner at the White House. Reuters
The US president and first lady Jill Biden held a sumptuous, star-studded White House state dinner, featuring music from Jon Batiste and Chardonnay from the Napa Valley, in honour of President Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
But Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, remained the most pressing issue for the leaders, who vowed to continue robust support and to back Kyiv during the tough winter months.
Biden has so far resisted talking to Putin since the invasion was launched in February, while Macron has kept lines of communication open. Russia calls the war a "special operation."
"Let me choose my words very carefully," Biden told a news conference with Macron. "I'm prepared to speak with Mr Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he's looking for a way to end the war. He hasn't done that yet."
Russian President Vladimir Putin presides over a meeting. File photo
Macron, for his part, said he would continue to talk to Putin to "try to prevent escalation and to get some very concrete results" such as the safety of nuclear plants.
The two leaders also sought ways to ease some economic tensions in Oval Office talks.
Biden pledged to Macron to make changes to US legislation passed by the US Congress this year that European nations fear will harm their economies.
Bills aimed at boosting U.S. renewable energy and the semiconductor industry have "glitches" that can be addressed, Biden said.
Macron raised French and European concerns about Biden's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a new $430 billion bill that offers massive subsidies for US-made products and is aimed at addressing the climate crisis and promoting renewable energy.
At a meeting on Wednesday with US lawmakers, Macron said the act was "super aggressive" toward European companies, one participant told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"France did not come here to ask for some kind of exception for its economy. We came to share how the consequences of this regulation impact us," he said on Thursday.
US President's Poland trip will come a day after he meets in Brussels with NATO Allies, G7 Leaders and European Union Leaders to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine after Russia's invasion, the White House said.
The southern port of Mariupol has become a focal point of Russia's assault and lies largely in ruins with bodies lying on the streets, but attacks were also reported to have intensified on the second city Kharkiv on Monday.
Biden visited some troops at lunch at their temporary headquarters in Rzeszow and chowed down on a slice of pepperoni and jalapeno pepper pizza. He also visited others who were getting haircuts at the barbershop.
Biden's comments, an escalation of US rhetoric towards Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, were not a call for regime change in Russia, a White House official said later, but meant to prepare the world's democracies for an extended conflict.
The two women and one man who drowned are believed to have been part of a group of 41 people whose dinghy sank after hitting a reef near the island of Lesbos, a coastguard spokeswoman told the media.
A Palestinian security source, who was not authorised to speak to the media, said Ashqar was from the city's Askar refugee camp. Three people were arrested during the Israeli raid on the city, the source added.
Turkish and Syrian disaster response teams report more than 5,600 buildings have been flattened across several cities, including many multi-storey apartment blocks that were filled with sleeping residents when the first quake struck.