Joe Biden to meet Vladimir Putin for first time in Geneva amid escalating tensions
The White House on Tuesday confirmed the meeting, in which Biden is expected to discuss Russian interference in US elections and other issues that have contributed to their deteriorating relations.
‘President Biden will meet with President Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021,’ the White House said in a statement.
‘The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship.’
The Kremlin also released a statement on the day-long summit. ‘We intend to discuss the state and prospects of further development of Russian-American relations, problems of strategic stability, as well as topical issues on the international agenda, including interaction in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the settlement of regional conflicts,’ the Kremlin stated.
During her press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden plans to address Ukraine and its ally Belarus, which recently forced a jetliner to land in order to arrest opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.
Biden will ‘raise Ukraine, underscoring America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and he will also plan to raise Belarus and convey our grave concerns – as he has now done publicly – privately’, Psaki said.
She added that the presidents will likely ‘spend a fair amount of time on strategic stability’ and tackle arms control matters.
Biden and Putin will also speak about the coronavirus pandemic, nuclear proliferation and climate change, the Washington Post reported. The meeting will assume a different tone from former President Donald Trump’s July 2018 summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, according to officials.
During that meeting, Trump sided with Putin over the US intelligence community and said he did not ‘see any reason why’ Russia would be responsible for election interference.
Biden met with Putin in person before becoming president. In 2011 as vice president, Biden looked Putin in the eyes and said, ‘I don’t think you have a soul’.