The much-anticipated meeting between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin took place in Geneva on Wednesday, where the U.S President warned Russia about taking strict action if it continues with behavior that hurts America’s interests.
In a statement issued after the conference, President Biden said that the tone was moderated and the discussion was conducted in a “hyperbolic atmosphere.” He accepted that it will take time to deduce whether any significant progress would be made in the talks between the two countries.
Although Biden met Putin for less than four hours, he claimed it was enough to discuss critical issues. He spoke to the press after Putin, who was extremely polite but didn’t seem to reach a compromise on pressing issues of cyberattacks and human rights violations.
Biden is now gearing up for his journey back to Washington, after spending a long week in Europe to achieve key objectives. He said the two leaders have agreed on certain grounds and the U.S is seeking to set a “stable and predictable” relationship with Russia.
While going into the meeting with Putin, Biden said a key issue is the occurrence of frequent cyberattacks against the U.S by Russian groups. For the past two months, several Russian hackers have been associated with cyberattacks targeting U.S government agencies.
In response, Biden cautioned Putin to tread carefully as the U.S has a high degree of cyber capabilities and if Putin continues to cross ethical boundaries, Russia will face severe consequences. Biden said he expects Russia to “take action” and stand against agencies conducting ransomware attacks against the U.S.
Additionally, Biden firmly stated he would call out Russia for violating human rights as it is one of America’s principal values. According to Biden, it has nothing to do with Russia, but more to do with “who we are.” As the President of the U.S, speaking against the violation of human rights is a duty, he said.
Despite officials expressing hesitancy on the compromise potential between the two leaders, the meeting has managed to surpass their expectations. The two countries will let their ambassadors return to their posts overseas after both were forced to return home in April. Moreover, the countries also mutually agreed to initiate talks regarding nuclear arms control.
The two forces of power also discussed a prisoner swap, although no formal agreement was reached during the meeting. However, Biden said the families of the prisoners should keep their hopes high. Putin also mirrored his views, saying that “we might be able to find some kind of compromise there” and that the country officials would take up this issue in greater detail.
The conference appeared to be fruitful for both parties as key issues were discussed in depth. It was more of an error-free event for Biden, who kept his cool throughout the whole meeting with Putin, unlike prior presidents. However, he did seem to lose his temperament at the end of the conference, calling out a journalist when asked if Putin would change his behavior.
While Biden presented an impartial stance on the issues raised, Putin seemed to be ill-equipped in acknowledging the problems at hand. Though he called Biden a “balanced professional man,” the Russian President failed to comment on what the future may hold for the two countries.