Joe Biden will give a solo press conference after his meeting next week with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the White House said.
Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The White House has said that Biden will mention ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues that have irritated the relationship.
A US official said the meeting in Geneva on Wednesday is expected to be “candid and forthright.”
But they added: “A solo press conference is the appropriate format to communicate clearly with the free press the issues that were raised at the meeting, both in terms of areas where we can agree and areas where we have concerns. important ”.
The White House said the meeting would involve “a working session and a smaller session,” without elaborating.
Washington has insisted for weeks that its goal is to make relations between the two countries more “stable and predictable.”
The joint press conference that followed the meeting between Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and Putin in Helsinki in July 2018 is still fresh in America’s memory.
Trump sparked outrage in his own field by stating that he accepted Putin’s word over and above the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election campaign.
Putin has said that relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest point in years, in an interview before the meeting.
“We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin said, according to an NBC translation of excerpts from an interview broadcast on Friday.
Putin characterized Trump as “an extraordinary, talented,” but impulsive individual, and said that Biden, as a career politician, was “radically different” from “colorful” Trump.
“I am very hopeful that, yes, there are some pros, some cons, but there will be no impulsive move on behalf of the sitting US president,” he said, according to an NBC News translation.
Putin has openly admitted that in the 2016 vote he supported Trump, who expressed his admiration for the Russian leader and, notoriously, at his first summit appeared to accept his denials of electoral interference.
Biden, at the beginning of an eight-day visit to Europe this week, said: “We are not seeking a conflict with Russia.
“We want a stable and predictable relationship … but I have been clear: the United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”
Putin was asked about several Russian dissidents whose deaths were attributed to Moscow, including former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in 2006. Putin dismissed the question, saying that some of those responsible for the deaths had gone to prison. .
When asked if Biden called him a murderer in an interview in March, Putin said he had heard dozens of such allegations. “This is not something that worries me in the least,” Putin said, dismissing it as part of “macho behavior” common in Hollywood.