Their first official meeting will take place in a climate of high tension between Washington and Moscow, against a backdrop of exchanges of sanctions and accusations. US President Joe Biden will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, the White House announced on Tuesday, May 25.
This first tête-à-tête between the two men since the arrival of Joe Biden at the head of the United States will take place in the wake, on the western side, of the meetings of the leaders of the G7 and NATO which will give pride of place. to the display of an anti-Moscow common front.
“The leaders will address a range of urgent issues as we seek to make relations between the United States and Russia more stable and predictable.”, said Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the White House, in a brief statement.
The announcement comes on the same day that the imprisoned Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny said he was targeted by three criminal investigations, the pressure increasing for several weeks against his movement and his supporters.
From an American source at Agence France-Presse (AFP), we insist on the fact that a meeting with Vladimir Poutine is in no way a reward for the latter, but the most effective way to manage relations. between the two countries, which is difficult and should remain so.
Belarus, Syria and nuclear weapons on the agenda
On the occasion of this meeting, Joe Biden intends, in particular, to mention the regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, of which Moscow is the main support. The country is increasingly isolated with the entry into force of restrictions against its airspace, in retaliation against Minsk, accused of hijacking a European airliner to arrest an opponent on board.
The regime of Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is already targeted by multiple Western sanctions for having harshly suppressed an unprecedented protest movement which saw tens of thousands of people marching in the streets in 2020 following the presidential election August, judged “Rigged” by Europeans.
Still from an American source, it is specified that the question of nuclear weapons control will feature prominently in the discussions. In early February, the United States and Russia extended the New Start disarmament treaty for five years. Signed in 2010, the agreement limits arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 warheads deployed for each of these two countries, a reduction of nearly 30% compared to the previous ceiling set in 2002.
The nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, the Arctic, climate change and even Syria will also be part of the discussions during this summit.