No breakthroughs are expected at the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden

On March 10, 2011, then-US Vice President J.Biden and then-Russian Prime Minister V.Putin met in Moscow.

“I would describe the meeting as warm,” Michael McFaul, the then-US architect of the “reloading” of relations with Russia, who later became ambassador to Russia, told Radio Free Europe.

“It wasn’t a confrontation, but we spent a lot of time talking about things we don’t agree on, especially Sakartwell and missile defense,” McFaul said.

J. Biden and V. Putin also had a meeting behind closed doors for two – M. McFaul did not participate in it. Biden later revealed what he had told Putin.

“I said: Mr Prime Minister, I look you in the eye and I do not think you have a soul. He looked at me, smiled and said, “We understand each other,” Biden told The New Yorker a few years later.

According to McFaul, Biden is a “social guy” who likes to be held by the arm or elbow and has a good sense of humor.

“I don’t remember Putin. He put on a game mask and followed the plan, “he assured.

“There will be no breakthroughs”

Putin and Biden will now meet as presidents, and relations between Moscow and Washington have seen the greatest tensions since the Cold War – the countries do not even have ambassadors in each other’s capitals.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov said he hoped the meeting “would at least stabilize relations with the United States.”

“There are difficulties everywhere, nothing is easy,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he would “have no illusions” about progress: “We are not trying to give the impression that there will be a breakthrough or historic decisions.”

On June 9, Biden told U.S. troops that he had a clear message for Putin.

“We are not seeking a conflict with Russia. We want a stable and predictable relationship. But I was clear: the United States will respond strongly and meaningfully if the Russian government takes harmful action, “Biden said before his trip to Europe.

Criticism of Nord Stream 2

After Biden became president, the White House imposed new sanctions on Moscow in response to cyber-attacks against U.S. government agencies and poisoning by Russian oppositionist Alexei Navaln.

The White House is seeking to improve relations with Ukraine, whose forces in Donbass are fighting Russian-backed separatists.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kiev last month, and Biden invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meet. However, he rejected Zelensky’s request for a face-to-face meeting before Biden met with Putin.

“Scanpix” / ITAR-TASS nuotr./Volodymyras Zelenskis

Biden was criticized for some of the decisions deemed beneficial to Russia.

His administration did not impose sanctions that could prevent the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Such a decision has been criticized by some congressional Republicans and European allies.

As soon as Biden became President, the United States extended the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (angl. New START) agreement with Russia, the only major surviving arms control agreement between Moscow and Washington.

According to some congressional Republicans, this is pointless because there are constant doubts about Russia’s compliance with other agreements. And the extension of New START is said to limit US efforts to modernize its arsenal.

The White House also expressed low expectations for the meeting in Geneva.

“I do not think it will be a meeting that will solve all the problems or all the challenges in our relationship,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Modest results

According to McFaul, the results of the meeting are likely to be modest: it can be agreed to further discuss arms control agreements, to return ambassadors to Moscow and Washington.

It is also possible to agree on a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution authorizing humanitarian aid to Syria. Here, the US and Russia support different sides of the conflict. It is possible that the meeting will agree on steps to renew Iran’s nuclear agreement.

„Scanpix“/AP nuotr./Michaelas McFaulas

„Scanpix“/AP nuotr./Michaelas McFaulas

According to Russian political scientist Ivan Kurilla, the most important thing for Putin is to be seen on the world stage next to the US president.

“Undoubtedly, Putin wants to be an equal partner in the dialogue with the American president again,” Kurilla told Radio Free Europe.

According to Kurilla, Putin will reject any discussion about the occupied Crimean peninsula or Belarus.

“And, of course, Putin does not want to be taught about human rights,” the political scientist said.

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