Monday, 2 Aug 2021

Putin and Biden may meet in June, says Russian media citing Kremlin aide

MOSCOW (REUTERS) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and his United States counterpart Joe Biden may meet in June, RIA news agency reported on Sunday (April 25), citing a Kremlin aide, amid simmering tensions between Moscow and the West.

The foreign policy adviser, Mr Yuri Ushakov, said a firm decision on the meeting has not been taken yet.

“We will take a decision depending on many factors,” Mr Ushakov, the Russian ambassador to the US from 1998 to 2008, was quoted as saying.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, cited by RIA, said on Sunday that Mr Biden’s proposal for the summit has been received “positively” and is now under consideration.

Russia’s Kommersant daily, citing unnamed sources, said Mr Biden had offered Mr Putin to meet on June 15-16 in a European country.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Mr Putin and then US President Donald Trump held a summit in Helsinki in July 2018.

Earlier this month, Mr Biden called on Mr Putin to reduce tensions stirred by a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border and proposed a summit to tackle a raft of disputes.

The Kremlin said at the time that a summit would be contingent on US behaviour, reportedly telling Washington to scrap a plan to impose new sanctions on Russia.

Russia-US ties slumped to a new post-Cold War low last month after Mr Biden agreed when asked in an interview if he thought Mr Putin was a “killer” and Moscow recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations.

Despite Moscow’s protests, the US this month imposed a series of new sanctions against Russia for alleged interference in the 2020 US election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other acts it deemed malign.

Mr Putin took part in a virtual climate summit hosted by Mr Biden last week.

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