Putin-Biden Meeting Important for US-Russian Ties

Henrietta Strickland
May 25, 2021

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are working toward holding their first presidential summit in Geneva in June, during Biden's first trip overseas as president, US officials tell The Associated Press.

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Geneva next month.

The Kremlin confirmed the summit details and said in a statement that Putin and Biden would be discussing "issues of strategic stability", as well as "resolving regional conflicts" and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The summit will come at the conclusion of Biden's first foreign trip as president, taking him through Europe with a stop in the United Kingdom.

Mr Biden also cited allegations that the Kremlin was behind a hacking campaign - commonly referred to as the SolarWinds breach - in which Russian hackers infected widely used software with malicious code, enabling them to access the networks of at least nine USA agencies.

Russian officials told Reuters they view the summit as an opportunity to hear from Biden directly after what a source close to the Russian government said were mixed messages from the USA administration that took office on January 20.

Biden has previously said he wants Putin to stop trying to influence US elections, stop cyberattacks on USA networks emanating from Russian Federation, stop threatening Ukraine's sovereignty and release jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

During his campaign for the White House, Biden described Russian Federation as the "biggest threat" to US security and alliances, and he disparaged his predecessor President Donald Trump for his cozy relationship with Putin.

Trump avoided direct confrontation with Putin and often sought to downplay the Russian leader's malign actions.

Last month, Biden held a phone call with Putin, where he had voiced his concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine's borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.

There has been speculation that the meeting was to be hosted in Helsinki, which was the venue for a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-US President Donald Trump in July 2018.

In March, Mr Biden in an ABC News interview responded affirmatively when asked by interviewer George Stephanopoulos whether he thought Mr Putin was "a killer".

Geneva became a leading crossroads of diplomacy in the postwar years of Cold War intrigue, an intersection where the Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc met the American-styled capitalist West.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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