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Biden and Putin will meet face-to-face for the first time during Biden’s presidency on Wednesday for a highly anticipated bilateral summit in Geneva.
The presidents will be joined by few top aides to begin the meeting before others join. Officials say they are expected to talk for four or five hours.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin sit down Wednesday for their highly anticipated summit in the Swiss city of Geneva, a moment of high-stakes diplomacy at a time when both leaders agree that relations between their countries are at an all-time low.
For four months, the two leaders have traded sharp rhetoric. Biden repeatedly called out Putin for malicious cyberattacks by Russian-based hackers on U.S. interests, a disregard for democracy with the jailing of Russia’s foremost opposition leader and interference in American elections.
Putin, for his part, has reacted with whatabout-isms and obfuscations — pointing to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to argue that the U.S. has no business lecturing on democratic norms and insisting that the Russian government hasn’t been involved in any election interference or cyberattacks despite U.S. 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, Biden has said it would be an important step if the United States and Russia were able to ultimately find “stability and predictability” in their relationship, a seemingly modest goal from the president for dealing with the person he sees as one of America’s fiercest adversaries.