Biden, Putin meet amid US escalation of Russia tensions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with US President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2021. (AP photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, sat down to have two rounds of meetings in a summit.

The summit was held in Geneva Wednesday in the last leg of Biden’s first foreign trip as the US president.

Since Biden won the bid for the White House in 2020, tensions have risen between Washington and Moscow over a range of issues, including allegations of cyber attacks and election interference directed towards Moscow.

Although Russia has denied such allegations in the absence of any evidence, ties have remained sour.

Held at Villa La Grange, a handsome 18th-century villa that overlooks Lake Geneva, the summit  was unlikely to offer a speedy recovery in the dented relations between the two superpowers.

Putin has met five US presidents since 1999 but his last meeting with an American president, Donald Trump, had revived hopes of a calmer interaction between the US and Russia.

"I have met with him. He's bright, he's tough, and I have found that he is a, as they say when we used to play ball, a worthy adversary," Biden told reporters of Putin at a news conference Monday night.

The two world leaders were set to give separate pressers after the summit.

In his presser, Putin called the talks “quite constructive,” adding that they  agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts. 

"There was no hostility. Quite the contrary,” the Russian president said.  

“The question about American citizens that were in Russian prisons, we discussed that there could be some compromise that we enter into between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the US State Department,” Putin said.  “They will be working on it.”

Putin admitted that there remained many differences between the two world leaders. 

“Principally speaking many of our positions, we don’t share the same positions in many areas, but I think that both of these sides showed a willingness to understand one another and to find ways to bring our positions closer together,” he said. “Talks were quite constructive.”

He added that negotiations will begin to address the issue of cybersecurity. 

“As for cybersecurity, we reached an agreement chiefly that we will start negotiations on that,” Putin added. “I think that’s extremely important.”

Biden also said in his presser that the two world leaders went through details of various issues. 

“Part of the reason it didn’t go longer is when is the last time two heads of state have spent over two hours in direct conversation across the table going into excruciating detail,” the US said of the meeting, after which he is set to depart for the United States.


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