The US continues to downplay expectations for the upcoming summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin that is scheduled for June 16th in Geneva.
The meeting comes as US-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War. Despite the dangerous path the two largest nuclear powers are on, the Biden administration doesn’t seem interested in any diplomatic breakthroughs.
“We’re not expecting to have a huge outcome from this,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the summit in an interview with ABC. Psaki made it clear that Biden will take a confrontational approach to the meeting. “He’s going to be straightforward, he’s going to be candid, he’s not going to hold back,” she said.
President Biden also made his hostile approach known in comments on Wednesday from the UK. “I’m heading to the G-7, then to the NATO ministerial, and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” he said.
Earlier this year, Biden agreed that he believed Putin was a “killer” who has “no soul.” Besides the rhetoric, the Biden administration has slapped sanctions on Russia, supported Ukraine during a tense stand-off over Crimea and Donbas, and has sent warships into the Black Sea.
One area Biden has said he could work with Russia on is nuclear arms control. But besides agreeing to extend New START, the Biden administration hasn’t taken any steps to foster new treaties. Last month, the US told Russia it would not rejoin Open Skies after Moscow’s attempts to salvage the mutual surveillance treaty that the Trump administration withdrew from in 2020.