President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month in Geneva, the White House announced Tuesday.
A face-to-face meeting between the two world leaders that comes amid rising tension between both countries over recent cybersecurity attacks believed to be directed by Putin’s administration against the U.S., including one recently against the Colonial Pipeline.
The wave of attacks have come in the first months of the Biden presidency, sparking the debate if the U.S. should take further action against Russia. This after a second round of sanctions were levied by the U.S. following the SolarWinds hack that started prior to Biden taking office in January.
According to White House officials, a summit between the two leaders is set for June 16 and will be part of Biden’s first international trip as president. He will also visit Britain for a meeting of Group of Seven leaders and Brussels for the NATO summit.
“The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement announcing the summit.
Biden first proposed a summit during a call with Putin in April, and it was something the Russian leader reportedly said he was open to in the coming months. An opportunity to discuss the relationship between both countries, despite Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying last month that Biden “definitely does not want to improve relations” with Russia and that relations between the countries were “very bad.”
The Kremlin said in a statement Tuesday that the leaders will discuss “the current state and prospects of the Russian-U.S. relations, strategic stability issues and the acute problems on the international agenda, including interaction in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and settlement of regional conflicts.”
Geneva last hosted American and Russian leaders in 1985, when President Ronald Reagan met Mikhail Gorbachev. They met for a summit with the objective to improve relations between the east and west, but differed on policies and opinions.
Biden’s willingness to meet with Putin shows an “olive branch” moment for international diplomacy, which breaks away from the stance held by the previous administration. Former President Trump rejected the idea of the U.S. playing a role in global institutions like the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.