The first face-to-face meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take place next month in Switzerland, the White House confirmed Tuesday, as the administration and the Kremlin finalize arrangements for the summit.
“President Biden will meet with President Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021. The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship,” the White House said in a statement. The long anticipated meeting will come at the conclusion of Biden’s first international trip since taking office. The White House dispatched national security adviser Jake Sullivan to Geneva this week to meet with his Russian counterpart, officials said, as details are being hammered out for the meeting between Biden and Putin.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the final location of the host city until all details were nailed down. The high-stakes meeting comes nearly three years after Putin met then-President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland. The officials said the meeting with Biden will look very different from that July 2018 summit, during which Trump sided with Putin and openly dismissed US intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election. It would be Biden’s first meeting with Putin since taking office. But Biden has previously met with Putin during his time as vice president, including a 2011 meeting during which Biden said he looked into Putin’s eyes and declared: “I don’t think you have a soul.” Biden initially proposed a summit with the Russian President last month during a telephone call, and the two sides have been working to finalize details since. Despite deteriorating 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.