U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time in Geneva Wednesday amid deteriorating relations between the world powers.
The meeting takes place in the final hours of Biden’s first trip abroad as president that also has him attending the 47th G7 summit in the English city of Cornwall.
In an interview with NBC News, portions of which aired Friday, Putin said U.S.-Russia ties had deteriorated to their “lowest point in recent years.”
The White House said Saturday only Biden would speak to the media after the meeting, denying the media and other observers the chance to compare Wednesday’s post-meeting developments with those of Trump and Putin together following their 2018 summit in Helsinki.
During their post summit news conference, Trump agreed with Putin, instead of his own intelligence agencies, that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the intent of helping Trump win.
“A solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns,” a White House official said.
The White House also said it expects the Biden-Putin meeting “to be candid and straightforward” and that Biden will bring up ransomware attacks originating in Russia, the Kremlin’s aggression toward Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues.
The two leaders are also expected to cover strategic nuclear stability and souring relations between Russia and the West.