Joe Biden to meet Russian Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on June 16

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on June 16, a high-stakes summit that comes amid escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington.

The meeting – the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Biden became president – will focus on a “full range of pressing issues,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday in a statement. communicated.

U.S.-Russian relations have been strained since Biden took office, as the White House confronted Moscow with its meddling in the 2020 presidential election and its role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, among other assaults.

The White House imposed sanctions on Russia in March for the poisoning and detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The Biden administration then hit Moscow with another round of sanctions in April for the Kremlin’s interference in the 2020 U.S. election and for its role in the SolarWinds cyberattack, which violated a wave of U.S. federal agencies and d ‘private companies.

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In the latter case, the White House has sanctioned more than three dozen individuals and businesses and expelled 10 Russian diplomats. Russia responded by expelling 10 US diplomats, among other retaliatory measures, as the confrontation with Washington escalated.

Biden said he warned Putin that the United States “could have gone further” in responding to cyber attacks, “but I chose not to. I chose to be proportionate.”

Biden said at the time that he was not seeking “to start a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable and predictable relationship.”

Biden sees the June meeting “as a chance to offer Russia a turnoff off the rogue road,” Brett Bruen, a former State Department diplomat, said in a tweet after Tuesday’s announcement. But Putin sees it “as an opportunity to show that he can once again accelerate beyond the West’s efforts to rule him.”

Biden’s national security team sought to ease tensions ahead of the leader-to-leader summit. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart last week in Iceland and described areas of cooperation, including tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change and taming the nuclear ambitions of the ‘Iran.

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But the June meeting, scheduled for Geneva, will certainly be busy. For starters, Biden said in March that he viewed Putin as a murderer. His remark came during an interview with ABC News, when Biden was asked if he thought Putin was a killer.

“Yes,” replied the president.

The personal clashes were not limited to the American side. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin’s government waged a disinformation campaign against Biden in the 2020 election, aimed at tarnishing him with corruption allegations.

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