U.S. President Joe Biden is set to go head-to-head against Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in talks that are expected to last up to five hours on Wednesday in Geneva. Biden plans to “warn” his Russian counterpart that the U.S. will respond to actions that conflict with its national interests, according to White House officials.
According to Newsmax, the White House says that it does not anticipate any firm policy announcements to come from the meeting, but that Biden will instead be using his first official meeting with Putin to lay out how the U.S. may retaliate against Russian actions in certain circumstances, and identify ways to cooperate.
The two leaders are expected to discuss a renewal of the New START nuclear arms treaty that is currently set to expire in 2026. Biden is also expected to bring up the incarceration of Russian political opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the criminalization of his political movement in Russia.
“I’m always ready,” Biden said on Tuesday when asked if he was prepared to deal with Putin.
Biden will be accompanied to the meeting by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who will meet with Putin’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Putin and Biden are expected to speak to the press before gathering with a larger group of aides.
U.S. officials expected to join the meeting include: Jake Sullivan; Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland; U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan; as well as National Security Council Russia advisers Eric Green and Stergos Kaloudis.
Putin will hold his post-meeting news conference first and Biden will follow with his own solo news conference, the officials said.
Putin spoke with NBC ahead of the meeting earlier this week, where he was accused of being a “killer” and asked if the Kremlin was responsible for cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure. Putin denied the accusations and rejected the claim that he was responsible for the deaths of his critics and political opponents. Putin also insisted that he was not responsible for the near-fatal poisoning of Navalny.
Speaking to journalists in Moscow, Russian foreign affairs advisor Yuri Ushakov said that the relationship between the two nations was “at an impasse” and “close to critical.” He did not express much optimism for the outcome of the talks.
Meanwhile, his U.S. counterparts in the White House said that the best outcome of the meeting would be to lower the temperature and adopt a “predictable, stable” relationship with Russia.