'America is back': Brussels upbeat on eve of Biden's Europe trip

Ruben Hill
June 9, 2021

The phone call came as Kiev has raised concerns about Biden's upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the recent USA move on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany.

Putin and Biden are to have a summit in Geneva on June 16, a meeting that comes amid soaring tensions in Russia-U.S. ties that have hit post-Cold War lows after Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, accusations of Moscow's interference in U.S. elections, hacking attacks and other issues.

But as the world crawls out of the coronavirus disaster, Biden is positioning the United States as the lynchpin for vaccine sharing and ensuring economic recovery.

And the USA increasing its donations of Covid vaccines around the world follows what many in Europe considered a long period of hoarding them for Americans. Washington risks "losing a precious friend", Erdogan has warned. Not so much in Geneva.

A White House advisory said, "This trip will highlight America's commitment to rallying the world's democracies, coming together to shape the rules of the road for the 21st century, defend our values, and tackle the world's biggest challenges".

The White House sees the extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty in February as an example of where business can be done.

Biden's meeting with Putin comes against the backdrop of recent ransomware attacks stemming from Russia and Russian interference in USA elections.

In this image made from video provided by the Babuskinsky District Court, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage during a hearing on his charges for defamation, in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Friday, February 5, 2021.

"We should not expect any sort of US-Russian reset", he said.

"We believe that President Biden is the most effective direct communicator of American values and priorities and we believe that hearing directly from President Putin is the most effective way to understand what Russian Federation intends and plans", Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the talks with Erdogan would be expansive, covering the eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Afghanistan as well as how to deal with the differences that have arisen between the two countries.

For all his tough talk, Biden faces limitations, as illustrated in the United States decision to drop sanctions meant to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, now set to feed Germany with Russian natural gas.

Biden closes out the trip in Geneva for what could prove to be the most hard meeting of the week - a session with Putin, who had enjoyed friendly relations with Trump.

But Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that with decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president under Barack Obama, Biden has done his homework.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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