President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin were looking to relieve tensions during a major summit. Biden cautioned that will be major repercussions if the US experiences cyber-aggression or if detained Russian dissident Alexei Navalny is harmed. Putin denied involvement in any cyberattacks. The summit was held in an 18th-century villa overlooking Lake Geneva.
The leaders shook hands upon arrival prior to going inside. Aides had previously downplayed hopes for the meeting.
According to both leaders, they are looking for their talks to be more stable and to forge predictable connections despite the fact that they do not see eye-to-eye in many issues including cyber-hacking, arms control, Ukraine, and election interference. Expectations of solving such disagreements are low.
Biden's View of Foreign Affairs
Biden's meeting on Wednesday with the Russian leader came following months of days of preparation. The President's decision to convene on Wednesday's summit boiled down to his basic view of foreign affairs: it is all about the person.
Both leaders projected optimism for future associations notwithstanding continued divisions on thorny topics including human rights abuses and cyberattacks. Biden depicted the tone of the discussions as "good, positive." Putin remarked it was "constructive" and there was a "glimpse of hope," reported NBC News.
After his three-hour meeting with Putin in Switzerland, Biden said, "The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by," reported USA Today.
The two leaders called the meeting their first since the US president took office to discuss a series of issues that have plagued US-Russia relations for years. They discussed Moscow's increasingly brazen crackdown on democracy supporters, cyberattacks, and Russia's threat to the NATO military alliance that has long been a bedrock of the United States' security relations with European allies.
Biden also said that he considered it important to meet in person to avoid miscommunication about the messages he wanted to convey. He said, "I did what I came to do."
Both men recognized that relations between the United States and Russia have reached a post-Cold War low in the past few years. As the leaders expressed disagreements, they also proffered measured evaluations of each other. They avoided the heated rhetoric that has at times tainted bilateral relations.
A prevailing goal of the president's team in planning his summit with Putin was to alleviate the spectacle that unfolded in Helsinki in 2018. This was when former President Donald Trump convened with Putin alone for two hours and emerged to state that he took the Russian leader's word over US intelligence on election meddling.
Biden boarded Air Force One, making his way back to Washington following the meeting. The Russian President had already taken off for Moscow aboard his plane by the time Biden's plane took off, reported AP.