Biden and Putin Praise the Talks in Geneva Summit, But the Discord Still Remains

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden have agreed to discuss arms control and to return the ambassador to their posts after the Geneva Summit highlighted their discord on cyberattacks, human rights, election interference, and Ukraine. Both the presidents have praised their discussion in Geneva but have made only a little progress at the first meeting since 2018.

US President Joe Biden said that the disagreements were stated but not in a hyperbolic way. He further told Russia did not want any new Cold War. The Russian President said that Mr. Biden is an experienced statesman, and both spoke the same language. The two talked for around three hours which is less time than scheduled. Biden said that they did not require much time for talking, and now there is a genuine prospect for improving relations with Russia.

The United States President brought Mr. Putin a custom-made pair of aviator sunglasses as a gift in style favored by the US president. He also presented a crystal sculpture of a bison. It is quite unclear whether Mr. Putin gave any gift to Mr. Biden or not. In 2018, the Russian leader presented a soccer ball to the former President of the US, Donald Trump, after a meeting held in Helsinki, Finland.

Both sides agreed to start a talk on nuclear arms control. In the meeting, they also talked about the returning of ambassadors to their respective capitals. The envoys were withdrawn mutually for consultations in March after Russia was accused by the US of interfering in the 2020 presidential election. But there was a small indication of agreement on other issues that include cyber-security, the fate of Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, and Ukraine. Mr. Biden told there would be severe consequences for Russia if Alexei Navalny died there.

Discussion of the Leaders

Prior to the summit, both leaders said relationships between both countries is at rock bottom. Mr. Putin indicated a possible dealing of exchanging prisoners by saying that he believed compromises could be made between the nations. On cyber-attacks, he brushed away accusations and told most cyber-attacks in Russia is actually originated from the US. Joe Biden said that he told the Russian President about hacking or attacks of critical infrastructure like water or energy should be off-limits. He said he looked at Mr. Putin and said how he would feel if some ransomware took place on the pipelines of the nation’s oil fields. Both sides differed sharply on the topic of human rights, including protest rights.

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