Biden goes face to face with Putin as tensions rise between U.S. and Russia

Biden goes head to head with Putin as tensions rise between U.S. and Russia

2021-06-16 14:36:58

President Biden is buying and selling the nice and cozy welcome of European allies Wednesday for his first sit-down as head of state with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are arguably at their worst because the Chilly Conflict.

The much-anticipated assembly at a picturesque 18th century villa in Geneva is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. native time with the arrival of the Russian president, who has a historical past of intentionally late arrivals supposed to make his rivals wait.

Biden, who arrived in Geneva on Tuesday afternoon on the final leg of his European tour, will be part of Putin shortly afterward for a gathering White Home officers stated might final 4 to 5 hours.

Biden sought a summit quickly after taking workplace to handle the deteriorating relationship between the world’s two former superpowers.

Putin’s navy buildup alongside his nation’s border with Ukraine — following his 2014 annexation of Crimea — has induced rising anxiousness throughout Europe and the West. His imprisonment of opposition chief Alexei Navalny has laid naked the autocratic Russian chief’s iron grip on energy and indifference to the worldwide norms Biden is keen to reaffirm.

And Putin’s more and more brazen efforts to weaken American democracy, from the Kremlin’s 2016 election meddling on behalf of former President Trump to the spate of latest cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure — which intelligence officers say originated in Russia, — have given Biden motive to ship a stern message when the 2 leaders come nose to nose.

Biden, who has been getting ready for the summit for weeks together with nationwide safety advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, previewed his message for Putin throughout a information convention Monday after a day of conferences at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Though reluctant to tip his hand, the president stated he would supply Putin alternatives to work with the U.S. on problems with mutual curiosity equivalent to arms management and local weather change — however provided that Russian hostilities abate.

“I’m going to clarify to President Putin that there are areas the place we are able to cooperate, if he chooses,” Biden stated. “And if he chooses to not cooperate and acts in a method that he has prior to now, relative to cybersecurity and another actions, then we are going to reply. We are going to reply in form.”

Biden additionally dismissed questions on whether or not he was assembly with Putin — whom he referred to as “a worthy adversary” — too quickly in his presidency, noting that NATO allies who’d spoken to him about it uniformly expressed their assist.

To a sure extent, Biden’s eagerness for the assembly displays a need to deal early on with points associated to Russia in a method that, if profitable, would allow him to shift his international coverage focus extra towards the Indo-Pacific and efforts to counter China.

Privately, nonetheless, U.S. officers have acknowledged that they don’t seem to be anticipating main information or breakthroughs to emerge from this assembly.

In contrast to Putin’s summit with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, practically three years in the past, the 2 leaders is not going to seem collectively at a information convention following their talks. As an alternative, they’ll converse to reporters and take questions individually, with Putin’s information convention first and Biden’s to comply with.

The plain tensions surrounding the assembly contrasted with the idyllic panorama on the summit web site, a chateau tucked into towering pines on the banks of Lake Geneva. Town, which hosted the 1985 summit the place President Reagan and former Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev met for the primary time, has adorned bridges over the glimmering blue lake with alternating flags of each international locations.

Lots of of journalists have descended on town, too, drawn by a gathering with potential geopolitical ramifications.

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