Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Biden met in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday (16th). The leaders of the two countries agreed to re-appoint ambassadors as soon as possible, but other than that, the talks lacked substantial results.
The meeting between the two lasted 4 hours, and a press conference was held after the meeting. This is the first meeting between US and Russian leaders since 2018.
The two countries issued a joint statement after the meeting, stating that “even in times of tension,” the United States and Russia proved that the two countries can still make progress on common goals.
Putin described the meeting as “constructive” and “productive”, referring to the two people having a candid dialogue.
Biden said that there are differences between the two sides, but not without overlap. He stated that Russia is not pursuing a new Cold War.
Before the summit, US-Russian relations fell to their lowest point in recent years. The US ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and the Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov were recalled earlier this year.
The summit between Biden and Putin eased the tensions between the United States and Russia. The “diplomatic war” will temporarily suspend troops. The two countries also agreed to restart bilateral dialogue on nuclear weapons control, but the bilateral relations have not substantially improved. On issues such as cyber hacking and the fate of Russian activist Alexei Navalny, differences between the United States and Russia remain unresolved.
Putin also confirmed that Biden did not invite him to visit the White House, nor did he extend an invitation to visit Moscow. “I believe such talks and visits will happen when the conditions are right,” he said.
What topic did Biden talk with Putin? Here are a few key points.
Recently, the American fuel transportation company Colonial Pipeline and the meat production company JBS have been called targets of cyber attacks and have been extorted millions of dollars in ransoms. The US stated that the cyber attack originated from Russia.
Putin refuted this statement today, saying that these attacks did not come from Russia, and that Russia was also a victim of US cyber attacks.
Biden said that he made it clear to Putin that launching cyber attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, including water and energy sources, is an “cross-border” behavior.
The fate of the Russian opposition
The leaders of the United States and Russia also fought fiercely on the human rights issue.
Putin’s number one opponent, Alexei Navalny, had previously been attacked by a deadly nerve agent. He is currently imprisoned in Russia. There have been reports that his health has deteriorated and his life in prison is hanging by a thread.
Biden reiterated at a press conference after the talks that if Navalny died in prison, it would have “destructive” consequences for Russia.
Putin called on the outside world to fairly report on Navalny’s sentence, but he never mentioned his name.
“This person knows that he violated Russian laws, and he has repeatedly committed the crimes,” Putin said. “He knew very well that he was wanted, but he still returned to Russia. He deliberately wanted to be arrested, and he did what he wanted to do. .”
Putin praised Biden rarely, calling him an “experienced diplomat.” “He is very different from President Trump,” Putin said, and he “shares a common language” with Biden.
Biden previously described Putin as “soulless,” a statement that has been widely reported.
But in today’s press conference, Biden’s tone when talking about Putin appeared firm while seeking reconciliation.
“I told President Putin that our plan is not to fight against Russia or anyone, but for the American people (well-being).”
China and the origin of the new crown virus
The traceability of China and the new crown virus has also become a focus of the US press conference.
A reporter asked whether Biden would talk to his “old friend”, Chinese President Xi Jinping, asking him to open the door to the World Health Organization to investigate the origin of the new crown virus again.
Biden, who was about to end the press conference, stopped and retorted: “I want to clarify that we have known each other for a long time, but we are not old friends. We are all business affairs.”
Biden said that the question about the origin of the new crown virus “has a great impact” on China’s international impression. The Chinese side tried to show the outside world a responsible, open and honest image, but the process encountered difficulties.
“There are things you don’t need to explain. The world can see the results. Whether China is really (on the origin of the new crown) is the root cause,” Biden said. The United States will call on the world to establish an epidemic alert mechanism, and strive to be as early as possible when the next major epidemic comes. response.
Russian dissidents and U.S. Congressional riots
At Putin’s press conference, when asked about the treatment of political dissidents by the Russian authorities, Putin was stunned. He mentioned that the US Congress riots on January 6 said that Russia did not want such “chaos” to appear.
“These people rioted and entered Congress with political demands,” Putin said. “They were threatened and sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison. For what reason, we don’t always know.”
“We sympathize with what happened in the United States, but we don’t want it to happen in Russia.”
On the other hand, at the US press conference, Biden refuted this comparison as “ridiculous”. He claimed that it was “criminals” who broke into Congress, and in Russia, peaceful political dissidents still cannot express their opinions freely.
Biden also said that Russia is in a “very, very difficult” position and that Russia hopes to cooperate with the United States.
“They are squeezed by China. They are extremely eager to maintain their status as a great power,” Biden told reporters before leaving Geneva.