Kremlin Says Deals At Putin-Biden Talks In Geneva Unlikely But Meeting Useful

By: - June 15, 2021

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A summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden in Geneva on June 16 is unlikely to yield concrete agreements but the meeting will still be useful, a Kremlin aide says.

Putin and Biden will meet for the first time since the latter became president as the bilateral relationship is at its lowest in years.

During a news conference on June 14 in Brussels, Biden was asked about the specifics of the agenda of the June 16 summit with Putin, but he declined to provide any or assess how he’ll measure the success of the summit.

He suggested he’d be looking for areas of agreement with Putin, while also warning him against continued aggression toward the United States and its allies.

Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, told reporters on June 15 that the agenda — apart from the final communiques — was confirmed in his phone call with White House national-security adviser Jake Sullivan on June 14.

Nuclear stability, climate change, cybersecurity, and the fate of U.S. and Russian nationals who are in prison in each other’s countries would be on the agenda, Ushakov said.

“I’m not sure that any agreements will be reached. I look at this meeting with practical optimism,” Ushakov told reporters in comments cleared for publication on June 14. TASS also quoted Ushakov as saying the meeting is set to start at 1 p.m. local time.

“I’m gonna make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate, if he chooses, and if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and other activities, then we will respond, we will respond in kind,” Biden said.

Biden who in March said he believed Putin was a “killer,” described the Russian president on March 14 as “bright,” “tough,” and a “worthy adversary.”

But he indicated he would remain wary of any commitments coming out of their meeting, saying he would “verify first and then trust.”

Russia-U.S. ties reached a post-Cold War low following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine in 2014. Washington also accused Moscow of interference in the 2016 presidential election, imposing sanctions on Russian companies and individuals.

“The situation is just close to critical. Of course, something should be done in this context,” said Ushakov, who was the Russian ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2008.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS