Czech officials offer spy hub Prague as site for Biden-Putin meeting to discuss Ukraine crisis

Suggestions of a meeting arose during a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
Prague,  Czech Republic

The Czech Republic offered its reputed spy hub capital city, Prague, as the locale for a sit-down between the presidents of the United States and Russia to discuss the escalating crisis surrounding Ukraine.

​"I have instructed our ambassadors in Washington and Moscow to offer Prague as a possible meeting place," Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek on Wednesday suggested via Twitter, as translated by Russian media. Hamacek also is the acting foreign minister for his country.

Prague is reputed within the intelligence community to be a hub for international espionage, where spies conduct their secretive work, to include planting bugs in hotel rooms and staking out persons of interest. 

The notion of a meeting arose during a Tuesday phone call between President Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. During the call that has been described as "lengthy," Biden reiterated Washington's "unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to the White House.

"The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions," the White House said in a statement.

Tensions regarding Ukraine have increased in recent weeks, as Russia continues a large buildup of troops along the border with Ukraine. The U.S. and Russia have exchanged accusations about military provocations along the border and in the Black Sea.

The two presidents have not announced definitively that they would meet, but a number of countries on Wednesday offered their cities as third-nation hosting sites. They include Vienna, Helsinki and Prague.