Politics

Biden-Putin Geneva Summit To 'Stabilise Relations'

The pair will meet in the Swiss city amid strained ties between the US and Russia.

President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin will come together today for their highly anticipated summit in the Swiss city of Geneva, as relations between the West and Russia continue to deteriorate.

President Biden has recently called on Russia to cease cyber attacks and aggressive behaviour toward NATO allies, while the alliance leader Jens Stoltenberg says relations with Moscow are at the "lowest point" since the Cold War.

Mr Putin has responded – pointing to the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol to argue that the US has no business lecturing on democratic norms and insisting that the Russian government has not been involved in any election interference or cyber attacks, despite US intelligence showing otherwise.

Now, the pair will meet for their first face to face as leaders – a conversation that is expected to last four to five hours.

In advance, both sides set out to lower expectations.

Even so, Mr Biden has said it would be an important step if the US and Russia were able to ultimately find "stability and predictability" in their relationship.

"We should decide where it's in our mutual interest, in the interest of the world, to co-operate, and see if we can do that," Mr Biden told reporters earlier this week.

"And the areas where we don't agree, make it clear what the red lines are."

The US president first floated the meeting in an April phone call in which he informed Putin that he would be expelling several Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against dozens of people and companies, part of an effort to hold the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year's presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The leaders first will hold a relatively intimate meeting joined by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Each side will have a translator.

After the meeting concludes, Mr Putin is scheduled to hold a solo news conference, with Mr Biden following suit. The White House opted against a joint news conference, deciding it did not want to appear to elevate Mr Putin.

Cover image: Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden (Picture: PA/ Alamy).