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The details on the Biden-Putin summit — and what Utah Rep. Chris Stewart has to say

What is happening with Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin? Why is it so important? And what does Rep. Chris Stewart think about it?

Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
In this March 10, 2011, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia.
Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Geneva on Wednesday for the first face-to-face meeting since Biden assumed office, according to NPR. The presidents will discuss major issues while seeking “strategic stability” as international relations have deteriorated between the two biggest nuclear powers in the world.

  • This meeting will be the last stop in Biden’s foreign visit to Europe, following the G-7 summit and NATO summit, reported CNN.
  • Both Biden and Putin have expressed support for a more stable and predictable relationship between their countries, said NBC News.

The Biden-Putin summit will provide an opportunity for the leaders to “map out” their relationship over the coming years, NPR reported.

What topics will Biden, Putin discuss?

The lineup of likely topics for Biden and Putin to discuss includes:

  • Cybersecurity: Russia has been linked to recent ransomware attacks on U.S. corporations — links which Russia has rejected as “ridiculous” and “nonsense,” said NPR. Biden recently blacklisted six Russian cybersecurity companies, NBC News reported. The issue remains contested between the countries.
  • Climate change: Putin participated in Biden’s virtual climate change summit and the topic is expected to resurface as an area of cooperation, said NPR.
  • The political situation in Belarus and military situation in Ukraine are likely to surface since the U.S. and Russia take opposing positions on both issues, NPR reported.
  • Additional topics include a possible prisoner exchange and Russia’s crackdown on political dissent, said NBC News.

Why is the summit so important?

U.S.-Russia relations have reached their worst point in decades, reported NBC News. This meeting will provide the leaders the opportunity to address both long-standing issues and more recent issues while setting the tone for U.S.-Russia relations during the Biden administration.

How is Rep. Chris Stewart responding?

Ahead of the first meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents, Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah, released a statement to Deseret News on Monday:

  • “It should come as no surprise that Russian President Putin is denying any involvement in the recent surge in cyberattacks against America’s infrastructure. It would be foolish to take him at his word. These cyberterrorists are trained, funded and protected by Russia. Putin is hiding behind criminal groups and attacking American infrastructure, businesses and citizens with impunity. They must start paying a price.
  • “This week, during this administration’s first U.S.-Russia summit, President Biden has a valuable opportunity to send President Putin a message: If Russia continues supporting cyberattacks against America, we will strike back. That message doesn’t only need to be clear, though — it needs to have teeth. Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee stand ready to make sure that’s the case.”

Biden is expected to take a firmer stance toward Russia than his predecessors but the specifics remain unclear, reported CNN.