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Ahead of Putin summit, Biden says US must lead from ‘position of strength’

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Biden Putin e1618592133162

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Joe Biden says there will be no doubt about the resolve of the United States to defend democratic values when he holds his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Biden attempted to set the stage for the June 16 meeting by writing an opinion piece in which he noted the meeting with Putin will take place after days of discussions with U.S. partners and allies “who see the world through the same lens as the United States.”

Biden laid out his agenda and goals for his upcoming trip to Europe, his first foreign travel since becoming president, in the article, which was published June 5 in The Washington Post and released by the White House.

The trip will be packed with meetings between Biden and the leaders of many of the United States’ closest democratic partners, including the Group of Seven (G7) nations, NATO allies, and leaders of the European Union, before it concludes with his meeting with Putin.

Biden repeated many common themes in the op-ed, reiterating that in taking on the challenges of the pandemic, climate change, and “the harmful activities” of China and Russia, “the United States must lead the world from a position of strength.”

Biden is scheduled to leave for Europe on June 9 and first attend the G7 summit in Britain. He said the trip comes in a “moment of global uncertainty” as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic but will mostly be about “realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners, and demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.”

He said when he meets Putin in Geneva after the many meetings with allies, it will be clear to the Russian president that the United States and its friends “are standing united to address Russia’s challenges to European security, starting with its aggression in Ukraine.”

He reiterated that Washington wants a stable and predictable relationship with Moscow that allows the two countries to work together on common issues like strategic stability and arms control.

Biden’s op-ed came a day after Putin set a confrontational tone for the summit, accusing Washington of trying to contain Russia and influence its domestic politics.

Speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg on June 4, Putin said that arms control, global conflicts, the coronavirus pandemic, and climate change are among the issues he and Biden would discuss.

“We need to find ways of looking for a settlement in our relations, which are at an extremely low level now,” Putin said.

“We don’t have any issues with the U.S.,” he continued. “But it has an issue with us. It wants to contain our development and publicly talks about it. Economic restrictions and attempts to influence our country’s domestic politics, relying on forces they consider their allies inside Russia, stem from that.”

Speaking later in a videoconference with journalists, Putin said the United States and Russia have some corresponding interests, despite certain disagreements that are “not the result of Russian actions.” He also said that he doesn’t expect any breakthrough results from the summit.

Biden Putin e1618592133162

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