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Putin expects to discuss ways to fix Russia-US relations, disarmament & Covid-19 during first talks with Biden in Geneva

Putin revealed the “approximate agenda” of his much-anticipated face-to-face talks with Biden, scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, during his appearance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

“We’re going to discuss the issues of bilateral relations. I proceed from the fact that we must try to find ways of fixing those relations. Today, they are at an extremely low level. We all know that,” the Russian leader said.

The other issues he planned to raise with the US president, he said, were strategic stability, the settlement of conflicts in the most prominent international hotspots, countering terrorism, tackling the coronavirus pandemic, and ecological matters, Putin said.

In a separate interview with Russia’s Channel 1, he described Biden as “an experienced, balanced, and accurate” man who had spent his whole life in politics, and expressed the hope that those qualities would have a positive effect on the upcoming negotiations. 

“I’m not expecting anything that could become a breakthrough in Russia-US relations,” the Russian leader confessed. However, he said, the Geneva talks may well create the right conditions for the taking of further steps towards the normalization of Russia-US ties, which would in itself be “a positive result.”

Biden invited Putin to meet during a phone call in April, not long after he gave an affirmative answer to a question by an ABC reporter who wanted to know if he considered his Russian counterpart to be a “killer.” The US president’s controversial response provoked a diplomatic spat, but the Kremlin later said it shouldn’t become a stumbling block to the relaunching of dialogue with Washington.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki earlier said the meeting between Biden and Putin would cover a “full range of pressing issues,” including human rights, cyberattacks, and the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine.

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