Biden Is Getting Ready For A Long And Heated Meetings With Putin

GENEVA — President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office on Wednesday in what is expected to be an hours-long, contentious meeting, one in which Biden has stated that he will lay out U.S. red lines and the consequences for Russia if they are crossed.

Putin arrived first, followed by Biden, at the ancient Swiss house where the meeting would be held. Before beginning their discussion, the two stood for a photo with the Swiss president on the red carpet outside the main door. Neither of them reacted to reporters’ shouted inquiries.

The summit will run four to five hours and be divided into two parts: a private meeting with Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Putin, and Russia’s foreign minister, and a bigger group gathering with other participants. Putin will conduct a solo press conference following the discussions, followed by one from Biden.

Security has been tight around the gorgeous lakeside area where the meeting is taking place. Thick coils of barbed wire fencing surround the park, which is patrolled by Swiss police. In a city famed for its neutrality and international collaboration, a major portion of the city has been locked off, with police boats dotting the pristine waters of Lake Geneva.

High-profile diplomatic engagements are not uncommon in Geneva. Former President Ronald Reagan met with then-Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time here in 1985, marking the beginning of the thaw between the two countries. Apart from the venue, there are anticipated to be few parallels between the Russian and American presidents’ encounter 36 years ago and the one taking place here on Wednesday.

Biden has stated that he intends to discuss a number of contentious topics, including cyberattacks, human rights violations, aggression towards Ukraine, and election meddling.

According to a source acquainted with the plans, both the Russian and US ambassadors to the United States will be in Geneva, and one of the topics up for discussion will be their return to their foreign positions. The US ambassador was pressed to return to Washington after Biden imposed fresh penalties on Russia, and the Russian ambassador was summoned in Moscow.

Meetings With Putin

lgnews-Biden-Is-Getting-ReadyThe meeting’s logistics provide Biden a number of advantages. Biden will avoid the impression of being kept waiting since Putin, who is renowned for being late, is scheduled to arrive first. According to Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, having his secretary of state and longtime foreign policy adviser in the meeting with him will ensure that someone can focus on recording what happens while also being available should there be more technical detail covered.

Biden’s decision to skip a side-by-side press conference with Putin will also help him avoid the appearance of friendship with Putin, which was widely criticized in the United States after former Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump met with Putin for the first time.

The White House does not expect any agreements to be announced as a result of the summit, but administration officials have speculated that the two leaders may agree to begin talks on issues such as nuclear security.

While Biden has already met with Putin, much has changed in the ten years since their last meeting. Putin has become increasingly autocratic at home and antagonistic to the West; he annexed Crimea, has been connected to hacking of US corporations and government agencies, and has meddled in US elections.

Biden has been preparing for the meeting for days. According to a source familiar with the situation, he convened in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a prep session with a group of outside Russia specialists — including officials from the Trump and Obama administrations — to explore a range of perspectives on how to deal with Putin.

“He isn’t simply making things up as he goes along. This meeting is taking up a lot of his time and attention,” the source added.

Biden landed in Geneva on Tuesday afternoon following days of talks with America’s closest allies at a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders, which includes Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan, as well as a NATO summit. He claimed he had told several of those leaders what he wanted to say to Putin during a news conference on Monday.

“I told our allies that I’ll tell President Putin that I’m not seeking for a fight with Russia,” Biden added, “but that if Russia continues its destructive behavior, we’ll respond.”

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