Putin and Biden to meet in Switzerland to try to avoid unpleasant surprises

Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, will meet on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, a written statement from White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on May 25. 

"President Biden will meet with President Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021. The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship," the statement said. 

The message from the White House appeared along with the press release from the Kremlin. 

"It goes about the discussion of the state of affairs and prospects of further development of the Russian-American relations, strategic stability issues, as well as topical issues on the international agenda, including interaction in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the settlement of regional conflicts," the Kremlin said.

Earlier, CNN, citing American officials, reported that the first meeting of US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would probably take place on June 15-16 in Switzerland.

Last week, Russian news agencies reported that Putin and Biden could indeed meet in Switzerland. In early May, Biden said that he was expecting a meeting with Putin during his trip to  Europe in mid-June for NATO, G7 and the US-EU summits.

The last summit of Russian and US presidents was held three years ago in Helsinki, Finland. Following the talks with Putin, then US President Donald Trump questioned the conclusions of US intelligence about Russia's interference in 2016 elections.

The Putin-Biden summit will be Biden's first meeting with Putin after Joseph Biden took office as president. The initiative to hold the summit came from the White House. In April, Biden voiced such a proposal during a telephone conversation with Putin. Against the background of ongoing deterioration in relations between Russia and the United States, Washington hopes to establish a reliable communication channel with Moscow to avoid "surprises" that may entail serious negative consequences.