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US-Russian relations are so bad only a summit can fix them, says Putin spokesman

“The main reason for him [to go] is the poor state of relations between our two countries. And a critical level of this relationship which requires a summit between our two countries because it is the only way (…) to prevent a further deterioration of our dialogue, “Peskov told CNN.

Next week’s high-stakes summit in Geneva comes as relations between the two nations recently reached new lows during the first months of the Biden administration.

The United States announced sweeping sanctions in April, punishing Moscow for its interference in the 2020 US election, its ongoing occupation and “serious human rights violations” in Crimea, and the SolarWinds cyberattack – l one of the worst data breaches to ever hit the US government.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov was recalled from Washington after Biden called Putin a killer in March. US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan left Moscow after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultations.
Biden said in a U.S. troop hangar on Wednesday that he was in Europe defending the very concept of democracy and warned his Russian counterpart that he planned to raise sensitive issues during their conversation. “I’m heading to the G7, then to the NATO ministerial meeting and then meeting with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” Biden said.

That is why the summit will be “a very good opportunity” to express the concerns of the two countries, Peskov said Friday.

He also accused the United States of having frozen dialogue between the two countries for the past five to seven years “in all areas, including areas vital both to our people and even to humanity,” as [the] fight against terror [attacks], with climate change, economic cooperation, cooperation in vaccines, in the pandemic … they refuse to cooperate with us in the fight against digital crime, etc.

Putin does not expect a joint press conference at the end of the summit but he is ready for one, Peskov said, adding that negotiations are continuing on the final format of the summit and that no final decision has been made. taken, he said.

Last week, Putin said he did not expect a breakthrough in relations after the summit.

As for reports that Biden and Putin will not hold a joint press conference, Peskov said he has “heard of such a possibility from our American counterparts, but we are still awaiting final confirmation.”

“From the very beginning, President Putin has been open to all alternatives,” Peskov added.

For Biden, the Geneva summit aims to facilitate a more stable and predictable diplomatic relationship with Russia.
But his administration has low expectations for the meeting and tempered suggestions that the United States and Russia would pull out of the meeting with groundbreaking deals.

“We don’t think of the US-Russian summits in terms of expected outcomes,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week. “We think of it as an opportunity to communicate what our intentions and capabilities are.”

Next Wednesday’s conversation is likely to be a busy one for both leaders, with the agenda set to include cyber attacks, human rights abuses and Russia’s actions in Ukraine, according to U.S. officials.

Biden initially proposed the summit with the Russian president in April during a phone call, and the two sides have since been working to finalize details.

Despite the deterioration of relations between the two countries on issues like Ukraine and election interference, Biden hopes to establish a clear channel of communication that would avoid undue surprises.

Their meeting will mark the end of Biden’s first trip abroad as US president, starting with the Group of Seven summit at a seaside resort in Cornwall, UK. After the G7 closes on Sunday, Biden heads to Brussels for the NATO summit followed by his meeting with Putin.

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