President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters stick to 2020 story FDA approves yet another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns China collects athletes’ DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE on Wednesday framed his three-hour sit-down with the Russian president Vladimir Putin as a foreign policy wins, even as tensions over cyber attacks and human rights loom over the future of the relationship between the two leaders.
White House officials tried to keep expectations low and closely monitored optics for the meeting, choosing a solo press conference with Biden instead of a joint with him standing next to Putin.
The president would not reveal his planned message to Putin when asked at the previous group of seven (G-7) and NATO summits, and officials repeatedly said they hoped for a “predictable and stable” relationship with Moscow. although experts noted that Putin thrives on such disruption.
But as they emerged from Wednesday’s meeting in Geneva, both Biden and Putin agreed that hostilities were minimal, saying they had a “positive” and “constructive” conversation that took a few hours less than what White House officials said. had previously indicated.
“It was important to meet in person so that there could be no errors or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate. I did what I was going to do, ”Biden said at a press conference.
The president said his goal of entering the summit was to identify areas of mutual interest, make it clear that the United States would respond to Russian attacks on US interests or US allies, and “lay our country’s priorities and values so he heard it directly” from me.”
Biden and Putin released a joint statement following their face-to-face meeting, saying the two countries have “demonstrated that even in times of tension, they are capable of making progress on our common goal of ensuring predictability in the strategic field,” reduce the risk of armed conflict and the threat of nuclear war. ”
They agreed to start nuclear weapons control and risk reduction negotiations in the near future and jointly reaffirmed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” They also noted the recent extension of the new START Treaty of 2010, which limits the number of missiles and bombers the two countries can launch.
Putin also announced that the United States and Russia had agreed to send their ambassadors back to their respective positions in Moscow and Washington, although he did not address specific timing. Biden did not discuss the issue of ambassadors at his press conference.
Following Biden’s remarks in March that he believed Putin was a “killer”, Russia recalled his ambassador. The United States then recalled its ambassador in April.
Biden told reporters as he left Geneva, “I’m fine with that,” and reiterated that no Allied leader said anything in opposition to his meeting with Putin. Biden said he thought he was in a “better position” representing the West after his meetings with the G-7 and NATO earlier this week.
The president’s week-long trip to Europe, culminating in Wednesday’s summit, was a marked departure from four years earlier President TrumpDonald Trump Kushner lands book deal, scheduled for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump’s trade legacy with EU deal Progressive welcomes Harrison’s start at DNC MORE‘s America First “doctrine. At each stop, Biden tried to emphasize that the United States was back at the table as a leader in global relations, and that the country viewed its commitments to NATO and G-7 allies as critical to the survival of democracy.
The Putin summit represented another opportunity for Biden to break away from the Trump era. Trump’s summit with Putin in Helsinki in 2018 was marred by Trump sitting with the Russian leader over his own intelligence community over whether Moscow interfered in the US election two years earlier.
The tenor at Wednesday’s meeting was far more diplomatic as Putin described Biden as “experienced” and recalled the US president quoting his mother. While Biden said he made it clear to Putin that there would be consequences for cyber attacks, human rights violations and interference in elections, he suggested that tensions never boiled over.
“No action was taken. Where we disagreed, I said where it was … but it was not done in a hyperbolic atmosphere, ”said Biden.
But experts questioned whether concrete progress would come from the meeting, or whether Biden’s straightforward and personal approach would be sufficient to change Russia’s behavior.
“Biden has to say that he spoke harshly to Putin. But what are we really going to show for it? Said Brett Bruen, a former director of global engagement at the Obama White House. “I do not think the United States has any greater deterrent effect today in stopping the Kremlin’s aggressive actions around the world than there was before this meeting.”
The president became frustrated during the press conference when he was pressured by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins as to why he was convinced Putin would change his behavior.
“When did I say I was safe? What I said was … what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world responds to them and it diminishes their position in the world,” Biden said, later apologizing for be a “smart guy” to Collins.
Biden has been the subject of bipartisan criticism from lawmakers for refusing to sanction or block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which critics say will give Moscow significant leverage over European energy markets.
Top GOP lawmakers on Wednesday called on Biden to impose sanctions on Russia for poisoning Putin’s critic and activist Alexei Navalny. Biden said at his news conference that he had warned Putin that there would be “devastating” consequences if Navalny dies in prison.
Biden was particularly critical of Putin over an exchange the Russian leader had with a reporter, when he compared The Black Lives Matter movement and arrests of January 6 rebels against the treatment of democratic protesters in Russia.
“I think that’s a ridiculous comparison,” the president told reporters.
Putin had said at his news conference that some insurgents on January 6 were “shot on the spot” and that he felt “sympathy” for the United States over Black Lives Matter, adding that he did not want a similar movement to take place in Russia. .