Biden, Putin meet for long-anticipated summit
Published : Wednesday, 16 June, 2021 at 6:34 PM Count : 521
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have opened their face-to-face talks Wednesday at a lush lakeside Swiss mansion, a highly anticipated summit at a time when both leaders agree that relations between their countries are at an all-time low.
The two sat down in a book-lined room in a somewhat awkward start to their meeting, with both appearing to avoid looking directly at each other during a brief photo opportunity before a scrum of reporters.
Their talks are expected to last four to five hours.
Putin said he hoped they would be “productive,” while Biden told him “it is always better to meet face to face.” Biden appeared to suggest that he can take the Russian leader at his word, nodding his head when asked by a reporter if Putin can be trusted.
The two leaders did shake hands moments earlier when they posed with Swiss President Guy Parmelin, who welcomed them to Switzerland for the summit.
For months, they have traded sharp rhetoric. Biden has 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.