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Biden and Putin meet in Geneva as summit kicks off


President Biden is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for five hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: Putin arrived in Geneva shortly before 7 a.m. ET and traveled via motorcade to Villa La Grange, a mansion set in a 75-acre park overlooking Lake Geneva. Biden arrived at around 7:20 a.m. ET. The two leaders shook hands and took a photo with Swiss President Guy Parmelin before entering the building for private talks.

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The big picture: Neither side believes that substantive agreement will come from the meeting.

  • Biden is expected to raise concerns about Russia’s election interference, harboring of cyber criminals, crackdown on dissidents, detention of American citizens, and aggression toward Ukraine.

  • Many of Biden’s predecessors came into office hoping to improve or reset relations with Russia. Biden’s goals are more modest: to work together on the few issues, like nuclear security, where interests overlap, and to avoid crises that will cause relations to deteriorate any further.

A senior administration official said the White House is seeking “three basic things”:

  • “First, a clear set of taskings about areas where working together can advance our national interest and make the world safer.”

  • “Second, a clear laydown of the areas of America’s vital national interests, where Russian activities that run counter to those interests will be met with a response.”

  • “And third, a clear explication of the president’s vision for American values and our national priorities.”

What to watch: The two leaders will not hold a joint press conference. Putin will speak to the press at noon EDT, and Biden will follow.

Who will be in the room, per CNN:

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken,

  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan,

  • Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland,

  • The National Security Council’s top Russia adviser Eric Green

  • U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan

In photos

A plane carrying Putin lands at Geneva Airport. Photo: Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images

Putin steps down the stairs from his airplane. Photo: Alessandro Della Valle/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Russian and U.S. flags on the Mont-Blanc bridge ahead of the summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. Photo: Pierre Albouy / AFP / Getty

Officials stand near the entrance of the Villa La Grange prior to the U.S.-Russia summit in Geneva. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The room at Villa La Grange where the two leaders will meet Photo: Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images

Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s first deputy defense minister and chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Putin Dmitry Peskov, and Putin aide Yuri Ushakov (L-R) talk ahead of the summit at the Villa La Grange. Photo: Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images

Putin and Biden shake hands for the first time since Biden became president. Photo: Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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