/ 17 June 2021

A ‘constructive’ US-Russia summit

After a little more than 3 hours of talks, Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have wrapped up their highly anticipated meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Putin got to the media first and showed off his hardline positions on Ukraine (where it has been building up troops on the border) and dealing with the opposition (where leading dissenter Alexei Navalny is locked up). He says Russian authorities are doing nothing different to those in the US. For Biden’s part, he said the tone of the meeting was “good, positive” and “I did what I came to do”. That means laying out his world view and telling Putin directly that “the US will respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies.” As predicted, there were no big breakthroughs, but there was some progress. Talks will start on nuclear arms control, and the countries will return ambassadors to each other’s capitals. That leaves plenty to cover in future talks, not that Putin is into happy endings. “There’s no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon, so we’ll cherish that,” he said.

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