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Putin arrives in Geneva for anticipated summit with Biden

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Swiss city of Geneva for a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

GENEVA (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Swiss city of Geneva for a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Their meeting comes amid soaring Russia-U.S. tensions. The summit agenda covers a broad range of issues, from arms control and cybercrime to the pandemic and a diplomatic tug-of-war between Moscow and Washington.

The White House and the Kremlin have sought to downplay expectations for Wednesday’s summit. But Biden and Putin have both emphasized the importance of a direct dialogue to try to negotiate a more stable and predictable relationship despite the sharp policy differences between the United States and Russia.

Flags of the US and Russia wave on the Mont Blanc bridge in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, June 15, 2021 the day before the US – Russia summit . The meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled in Geneva for Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Ties between the two powers have remained at post-Cold War lows over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, accusations of Russian interference in elections, hacking attacks and other irritants.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet for four or five hours at a lakeside mansion.


GENEVA — The acting chief of protocol for the Geneva region says staff members at the villa where U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting will keep face masks on during the summit even if the two leaders don’t.

Geneva authorities require the wearing of masks in public, though there are exceptions. The requirement holds particularly in places with a lot of pedestrian traffic, such as shopping areas.

FILE – In this photo Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to NBC News journalist Keir Simmons, back to a camera, in an interview aired on Monday, June 14, 2021, two days before the Russian leader is to meet U.S. President Joe Biden in Geneva. (Maxim Blinov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Marion Bordier Bueschi, who is managing the grand lakeside mansion that will serve as the summit site, told The Associated Press that staffers inside Villa La Grange were already wearing masks.

She said Putin and Biden would likely not wear masks during their talks on Wednesday. She noted that both leaders have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 have dropped across Switzerland, and authorities are planning steps to ease the mask requirement later this month.


U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are both coming to the summit table in Geneva with their own agendas and non-negotiable red lines. There will be no talk of a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations.

Biden and his aides have made clear that he will not follow in the footsteps of his recent predecessors by aiming to radically alter the United States’ ties to Russia. Instead, the White House is looking to move toward a more predictable relationship and attempt to rein in Russia’s disruptive behavior.

Swiss Federal president Guy Parmelin, right, welcomes US president Joe Biden, left, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, June 15, 2021 one day before the US – Russia summit. The meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled in Geneva for Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Alessandro della Valle/Keystone via AP, Pool)

Biden will push Putin on Wednesday to stop meddling in democratic elections, to ease tensions with Ukraine and to stop giving safe harbor to hackers carrying out cyber and ransomware attacks. Aides believe that lowering the temperature with Russia will also reinforce the United States’ ties to democracies existing in Moscow’s shadow.

Putin also won’t be expecting a new détente to mend the rift caused by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Nor does he count on a rollback of the crippling U.S. and EU sanctions that have restricted Moscow’s access to global financial markets and top Western technologies.

Putin’s task now is more modest — to spell out Russia’s top security concerns and try to restore basic channels of communication that would prevent an even more dangerous destabilization. The main red line for Moscow is Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO.


GENEVA — A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned that Putin’s talks with U.S. President Joe Biden “will not be easy” or likely yield any breakthroughs.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Associated Press a few hours before the Russia-U.S. summit in Geneva on Wednesday that the topics on the broad agenda “are mostly problematic.”

“We have many long-neglected questions that need to be trawled through. That’s why President Putin is arriving with an attitude to frankly and constructively set questions and try to find solutions,” Peskov said.

A window of a resident building is decorated with an American flag in the old city of Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, ahead of the meeting of US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

“No, this day cannot become historic, and we shouldn’t expect any breakthroughs. The situation is too difficult in Russian-American relations,” he continued. “However, the fact that the two presidents agreed to meet and finally start to speak openly about the problems is already an achievement. We can say that without having started yet, the summit already has a positive result, but we should not await breakthroughs.”

Peskov said the bilateral issues Russia wants to discuss include strategic stability, arms control, cooperation in regional conflicts, cooperation on the pandemic, and climate change.


GENEVA — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are set to meet for their highly anticipated summit in the Swiss city of Geneva. It’s a moment of high-stakes diplomacy that comes as both leaders agree that U.S.-Russian relations are at an all-time low.

For four months, the two leaders have traded sharp rhetoric. Biden has repeatedly called out Putin for malicious cyberattacks by Russian-based hackers on U.S. interests, for disregard of democracy in the jailing of Russia’s top opposition leader and for interfering in American elections.

Their talks on Wednesday are expected to last four to five hours. In advance, both sides set out to lower expectations. Arrangements for the meeting have been carefully choreographed and vigorously negotiated by both sides.

Putin and his entourage will arrive first at the summit site: Villa La Grange, a grand lakeside mansion set in Geneva’s biggest park. Next come Biden and his team. Swiss President Guy Parmelin will greet the two leaders.

Biden and Putin first will hold a relatively intimate meeting joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The talks will then expand to include five senior aides on each side.

After the meeting concludes, Putin is scheduled to hold a solo news conference, with Biden following suit. The White House opted against a joint news conference, deciding it did not want to appear to elevate Putin at a time when the president is urging European allies to pressure Putin to cut out myriad provocations. Read more international news

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