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Biden to meet Russia's Putin on June 16 in Switzerland

By
Don Johnson
President Joe Biden, seen here during a briefing at FEMA headquarters on Monday, will meet with the Russian leader in the middle of June. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
President Joe Biden, seen here during a briefing at FEMA headquarters on Monday, will meet with the Russian leader in the middle of June. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, in about three weeks, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki said the meeting will occur on June 16.

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The two leaders will discuss "the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship," Psaki said.

Biden said earlier this month that he expected to meet with Putin during what will be his first overseas trip, when he will also stop in Britain and Belgium for G7, NATO and EU summits.

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In an April 13 phone call between the two leaders, Biden proposed a bilateral meeting in another country.

The United States and Russia want to pursue strategic talks on arms control and emerging security issues to build on extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty.

Psaki told reporters last month that Biden was "increasingly concerned" by escalating Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. Russia said a few weeks ago it would end its military buildup for exercises near Ukraine's eastern border and now says those troops have returned to their permanent bases.

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Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, skirmishes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country have killed thousands.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Iceland last week in the first high-level discussions between the two nations under the Biden administration.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Arctic Council meetings, Blinken opened the meeting with Lavrov by warning that the United States would retaliate against Russian aggression.

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But Blinken added that there are many areas where U.S. and Russian interests "intersect and overlap," such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Afghanistan, North Korea, climate change and Iran's nuclear program.

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