Brussels (Brussels Morning) The Kremlin has tried to lower expectations ahead of next month’s summit between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden, while emphasising the meeting remains important given the deteriorating relations between the two countries, AP reported.
On Wednesday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasised that the differences between Moscow and Washington run too deep, with the meeting between the two leaders unlikely to result in a reset.
“It’s obvious that the negative potential that has accumulated in our bilateral relations has some inertia”, Peskov told the media. “So it’s hard to expect that it would be possible to reach an understanding on deep disagreements during just one first meeting”.
“I would caution against having excessive expectations regarding results of the meeting, but proceed from the assumption that the event is very important in practical terms”, Peskov suggested. “It would be wrong to downplay the importance of the meeting”.
Biden’s first trip
Biden and Putin are scheduled to meet on 16 June in Geneva. This follows a meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, which raised some hopes for a possible improvement in relations since Blinken announced the US would lift sanctions from the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline company and its CEO.
The State Department described it as “a good start”, with Blinken listing a number of issues where the two sides had a common interest in finding a solution. These included the coronavirus pandemic, global climate emergency, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes, and the ongoing war with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The agenda for the upcoming meeting in Geneva, which comes at the end of Biden’s first international trip as president, reportedly will feature arms control treaties between the two countries, plus the forced landing of a Ryanair flight by Russia’s ally Belarus, the pandemic and more. Prior to Geneva, Biden is to attend the G7 meeting in Britain and a NATO summit in Brussels.