President Biden leaves Air Force One at Geneva Airport on Tuesday. Biden is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Patrick Semansky / AP Hide caption
Patrick Semansky / AP
Patrick Semansky / AP
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Putin is expected to arrive at 7 a.m. ET. Biden arrives shortly afterwards.
- The closed meeting is expected to last four to five hours.
- Putin will hold his own press conference. Then Biden will give his.
- We’ll be streaming the Biden press conference live here when it starts.
It will be the first formal meeting between the heads of state and government of the two nations in three years during which US-Russian relations have become increasingly strained.
Advisors say Biden is not there to make friends or build trust with a rival whom he describes as “bright,” “tough,” and “a worthy opponent.” There’s a lot on the US agenda – from recent ransomware attacks perpetrated by Russian cyber criminals and Air piracy in Belarus on arms control and climate change. There are concerns to be raised about human rights abuses and strongman tactics Opposition leader and the imprisonment of two Americans.
The last meeting between Putin and former President Donald Trump ended with the now infamous press conference in Helsinki, at the Trump has sided with the Russian leader because of US intelligence (which Trump later tried to retrace).
There will be no repetition of this scene this time, not least because Biden and Putin will not hold a joint press conference after their meeting. Advisors say the meeting is expected to last four to five hours but will not include a meal, “no bread breaking,” a senior administration official told reporters.
Biden refused to say what exactly he hopes the meeting will bring, what he wants Putin to move forward, or what a success it will look like, and said there is no point in negotiating in the press.
“I tell you this: I will make it clear to President Putin that there are areas in which we can work together if he wants to.” Biden said in a press conference on Monday. “And if he chooses not to cooperate and behaves as he has done in the past with cybersecurity and some other activities, we will respond. We will react in the same way. “
Biden met Putin when he was vice president and he openly criticized the Russian leader, once calling him a “murderer”. Asked about these comments in a pre-summit NBC interview, Putin laughed at it. He also downplayed hacking concerns, as he has done with other cyber intrusions blamed on Russia.
“[Biden’s] Believes this is not a meeting about trust, it is not a meeting about friendship – it is a meeting to figure out where we can find common ground and also to be straightforward and open about areas of concern “White House press secretary Jen said Psaki during an airborne briefing on Air Force One.
Biden told reporters that he did not want a joint press conference with Putin to avoid a breathless analysis of body language. This is likely inevitable as reporters and photographers are expected to be available for an exchange of courtesies and a handshake at the end of their bilateral meeting.
But the lack of a joint press conference means that Biden doesn’t have to stand next to Putin with an open microphone. Instead, Putin will first hold his press conference in a highly choreographed sequence of events. Then Biden will answer questions from reporters. This setup will enable the American president to characterize the meeting and, if necessary, to counteract the narrative put up by Putin.
Republican critics are already preparing to label Biden as weak after the meeting.