Joe Biden, the President of the United States, and Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, agreed to hold conversations on arms control and to return their respective envoys to their designations, after a G-7 summit in Geneva that tinted their deep discord on cyberattacks, Ukraine, human rights and election interference.
The Wednesday meeting was the first between these two leaders since the U.S. President took office in January 2021, and the meeting lasted for over three hours. Biden and Putin used careful conversations to describe their f2f talks at the Swiss lakeside villa, with Putin describing them as constructive and Biden called them positive.
US President @JoeBiden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to hold arm control and cybersecurity talks, recording small gains at a first summit which they both described as pragmatic.@JodieCohen613 brings you the highlights from Biden’s press conference pic.twitter.com/kSjgVE8FHf
— WION (@WIONews) June 17, 2021
At a news conference after the summit, the U.S. president stressed that he didn’t make threats during his meeting with the Russian president. Biden also outlined American interests and made clear to his Russian counterpart that Washington would respond if Moscow infringed on those concerns.
Biden further told reporters that Putin asked him how he would feel if ransomware attacked the pipelines from U.S. oil fields? He replied that it would matter. The query referred to a cyber-attack that became the cause of the closure of the Colonial Pipeline Co system for many days in May. Moreover, the closure prevents millions of diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel barrels from following to the East Coast of the United States from the Gulf Coast.
U.S. and Russia Reached an Agreement to Return to their Chief Diplomats
Both countries reached an important deal to return their chief diplomats to Washington and Moscow after bringing home as the relationship worsened in recent months. Russia recalled its ambassador after the U.S. president called Putin a killer. Afterward, the U.S. also recalled its envoy from Russia.
On Wednesday, Putin said that Biden satisfied him with his explanation of the remark. However, there was no hiding their differences on issues like human rights, where the U.S. President said the significance for Moscow would be disturbing if jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny died. Speaking to reporters before Putin, Biden dismissed United States concerns about Navalny, the bigger military presence of Russia near the eastern border of Ukraine, and American suggestions that the Russian government was responsible for the cyber-attacks on the U.S.
Furthermore, he suggested Washington was in no position to lecture Russia on rights, batting away questions regarding his crackdown on political opponents by saying he was trying to avoid the chaos of a popular movement, like Black Lives Matter. He said that they experienced disruption, disorder, law violations, etc. They feel sympathy for the U.S., but they do not want that to happen in their region, and they will do their utmost in order not to let it happen.
Moreover, he looked to question the legality of arresting the protestors who attacked the United States Capitol on 6th January, seeking to stop the certification of Biden as president after he beat former president Donald Trump in the November 2020 election by more than seven million votes.
U.S. President Rejected the Comparison
Biden, on the other hand, rejected the comparison and called it ridiculous. Further, he adds that it is one thing for criminals to step forward a cordon, go into the Capitol, shoot a police officer, and be held accountable for people protesting on the Capitol and saying you are not letting him speak freely.
Washington-Moscow relations have been weakening for the last some years, specifically with the Russian 2014 capture of Crimea from Ukraine, its 2015 interference in Syria, and United States charges – denied by Moscow – of intervening in the 2016 U.S. General Election. Putin says it was difficult to say if relations would improve with the U.S., but there was a sign of hope.
Putin, 68, called Biden, 78, an experienced and constructive partner, and said they spoke the same language. However, he added that there had no friendship between the two countries, rather a practical discussion about the interests of both nations. In addition, Putin said that Washington and Moscow would start debates on possible changes to the New Start arms control agreement after its expiry in 2026.
Further, he added that Russia and the U.S. are responsible for strategic nuclear stability in the region. The New Start treaty signed in 2010 limits the number of strategic nuclear weapons, bombers, and missiles that both countries can deploy. The Russian leader also said that Russia had provided exhaustive information to America on cyber-attacks and said both countries settled to begin talks on the matter.