Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin cover various topics during talks
Moscow: US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to hold talks on arms control and to return their respective ambassadors to their posts, after a summit in Geneva that highlighted their deep discord on human rights, cyberattacks, election interference and Ukraine.
The two leaders emerged in mostly positive moods after more than three hours of talks, including two hours alone with just the Russian Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State.
They also agreed to send their ambassadors back to each other’s capitals. Russia recalled its envoy after Biden said in March that he thought Putin was a “killer”. The United States recalled its ambassador soon after.
Biden said the consequences for Russia would be “devastating” if jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny died, or cyberspace, where Washington has demanded Moscow crack down on ransomware attacks emanating from Russian soil.
The query referred to a cyberattack that closed the Colonial Pipeline Co (COLPI.UL) system for several days in May, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from flowing to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.
Biden said he raised human rights issues because it was in the “DNA” of his country to do so, and also because of the fate of US citizens jailed in Russia.
Putin said he believed some compromises could be found, although he gave no indication of any prisoner exchange deal.
Putin, 68, called Biden, 78, a constructive, experienced partner, and said they spoke “the same language.” But he added that there had been no friendship, rather a pragmatic dialogue about their two countries’ interests.
“President Biden has miscalculated who he is dealing with,” said US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump. He called it “disturbing” to hear Biden suggest that Putin cared about his standing in the world.