U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva on Wednesday for their first in-person meeting since Biden took office at the White House.
What happened with Biden and Putin (so far)
Politico reported that Biden and Putin discussed “cyberattacks, human rights, election interference and other pressing issues” when they met on Wednesday.
One notable moment has already occurred. Reporters asked Biden if he trusted Putin and Biden gave a normal nod to the press. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this was a general nod to the press — not one suggesting that Biden trusts Putin.
- “During a chaotic free for all with members of the press shouting questions over each other, the president gave a general head nod in the direction of the media. He wasn’t responding to any question or anything other than the chaos,” Psaki said, according to CNN.
Biden said the goal is to find some interests between the two countries.
“I think it’s always better to meet face to face, try to determine where we have mutual interest, cooperate,” Biden said, according to Bloomberg.
Putin thanked Biden for meeting at the summit, too.
“I know you’ve been on a long journey and have a lot of work,” Putin said, per CNN. “Russia and U.S. relations have a lot of issues accumulated that require the highest-level meeting and I hope that our meeting will be productive.”
What was expected from Biden-Putin summit?
- The two were seen together at multiple points on Wednesday. They were expected to speak multiple times, with the U.S. expected to push Putin on cyberattacks and human rights.
Officials told Politico that “Biden hopes to speak to him about areas where they might have common ground, including nuclear arms control and climate change.” In fact, an official told Politico that nothing is off the table when it comes to the Biden-Putin summit.
- “When the other side tries to say that there are issues that are off the table or that won’t be on the agenda, for the American president, nothing is off the table,” the official said. “Certainly human rights are not off the table, and individual high-profile cases are not off the table.”
As NPR explained, the two presidents were slated to discuss a number of issues and how to better create a stable relationship between the two sides.
“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,” the Deseret News reported.