WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden
will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin
in Geneva next month in a face-to-face meeting that comes amid escalating tensions between the United States
and Russia in the first months of the Biden administration
The White House
confirmed the summit details on Tuesday. The meeting, scheduled for June 16, is being tacked onto the end of Biden's first international trip as president next month, when he visits Britain for a meeting of Group of Seven leaders and Brussels for the NATO summit.
Biden first suggested a summit during a phone call with Putin in April
, as his administration prepared to impose sanctions
on Russian officials for the second time in his first three months in office.
Earlier this week, White House officials stated that they were finalizing details for the summit, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the meeting's details with his Russian counterpart, Nikolay Patrushev.
The White House has repeatedly stated that it seeks a “stable and predictable” relationship with Russia, while also calling out Putin on allegations that the Russians interfered in last year’s U.S. presidential election and that the Kremlin was behind a hacking campaign dubbed the SolarWinds breach, in which Russian hackers
infected widely used software with malicious code.
The Biden administration has also chastised Russia for the arrest and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and has publicly stated that it has low to moderate confidence that Russian agents were offering bounties to the Taliban in exchange for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan
In March, the Biden administration announced sanctions against several mid-level and senior Russian officials, as well as more than a dozen businesses and other entities, in connection with a nearly fatal nerve-agent attack on Navalny in August 2020 and his subsequent incarceration. Navlany returned to Russia days before Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration and was quickly arrested.
In response to the SolarWinds hack and allegations of election meddling, the administration announced last month that it would expel ten Russian diplomats and sanction dozens of Russian companies and individuals.
Even as he moved forward with the latest round of sanctions, Biden admitted that he held off on taking tougher action in order to send a message to Putin that he still believed the US and Russia could reach an agreement on the rules of the game in their adversarial relationship.
In fact, he mentioned a third-country summit during an April 13 call in which he informed Putin of the impending second round of sanctions.
During his presidential campaign, Biden called Russia the “biggest threat” to U.S. security and alliances, and he chastised his predecessor, President Donald Trump
, for his cozy relationship with Putin, who avoided direct confrontation and frequently sought to downplay the Russian leader’s malign actions.
Biden said in an address to State Department employees just weeks into his presidency that he told Putin in their first call that he would take a radically different approach to Russia than Trump.
“I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering in our elections
attacks, poisoning its citizens — are over,” said Biden, who spoke with Putin last week in what White House officials described as a tense first exchange.
In an interview
with ABC News
in March, Biden said yes when asked if Putin was a "killer" by interviewer George Stephanopoulos.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said Biden's remarks demonstrated that he "definitely does not want to improve relations" with Russia, and that relations between the two countries were "very bad."
Associated Press writer
Matthew Lee contributed reporting from Geneva, as did Keaten.