Biden to meet Putin at the summit on June 16 in Geneva
President Joe Biden (left) and President Vladimir Putin.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16 in Geneva, the White House announced on Tuesday.
“The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues as we seek to restore predictability and stability in US-Russian relations,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a brief statement.
The Kremlin confirmed the meeting.
“We intend to discuss the state and prospects for further development of Russian-American relations, issues 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, “he said, according to a Google translation of the Russian text.
The announcements come less than a week after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov held cautious face-to-face talks in Iceland. This meeting was the highest-level face-to-face talks to date between Washington and Moscow under the Biden administration.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gesture upon arrival for a meeting at the Harpa Concert Hall on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland , May 19, 2021.
Saul Loeb | Reuters
President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, July 16, 2018.
Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images
Under Biden, the United States pushed Russia back on several fronts.
Earlier this month, a hacking group suspected of links to Russian criminals staged the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, forcing the U.S. company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline, resulting in an outage of nearly half of the east coast’s fuel supply and causing gasoline shortage in the Southeast.
Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network, rendering the system unusable. The criminals behind these types of cyber attacks usually demand a ransom in exchange for disclosing data.
After the DarkSide attack, Biden told reporters that the United States currently has no intelligence linking the group’s ransomware attack to the Russian government.
“So far there is no evidence from our intelligence services that Russia is involved although there is evidence that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia, they have some responsibility to handle this “Biden said on May 10. He added that he would discuss the situation with Putin.
The Kremlin has denied claims it has launched cyber attacks against the United States.
In March, the United States sanctioned seven members of the Russian government for the suspected poisoning and subsequent detention of Navalny, Putin’s main critic in Russia. Sanctions were the first to target Moscow under Biden’s leadership. The Trump administration has taken no action against Russia over Navalny’s situation.
Later that month, Biden called Putin a “killer” and vowed that the Russian leader would “pay the price” for meddling in the 2020 US election and trying to increase Trump’s chances of re-election.
In April, Washington slapped Russia with another round of US sanctions for human rights abuses, massive cyber attacks, and attempts to influence US elections. The Biden administration also expelled 10 officials from Russia’s diplomatic mission in the United States.
Moscow has previously denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the US claims. Russia has described the latest White House steps as a blow to bilateral ties and pledged to impose swift retaliatory measures.
In response to the US action, Russia expelled 10 US diplomats from the US embassy in Moscow and sanctioned eight senior US administration officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
At the White House on Monday, Psaki played down concerns that the meeting between Biden and Putin would be seen as a “victory” for the Russian government.
“This is the way diplomacy works. We don’t meet people only when we agree. It is actually important to meet with the leaders when we have a series of disagreements, as we do with Russian leaders.” Psaki told reporters at a press briefing.
“This is an opportunity to raise concerns where we have them and once again to move towards a more stable and predictable relationship with the Russian government,” she added.