This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Joe Biden says he hopes to hold his proposed summit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during his planned trip to Europe in June.
“That is my hope and expectation. We’re working on it,” Biden told reporters on May 4 after a speech about the U.S. response to the coronavirus.
For his first overseas trip since taking office in January, Biden plans to join the other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialized nations for a summit in Britain set for June 11-13.
He will then fly to Brussels to participate in a NATO summit on June 14 and attend an EU-U.S. meeting with the bloc’s 27 leaders.
Biden in April offered a meeting in a third country to discuss spiraling tensions over issues including military threats to Ukraine, the SolarWinds cyberattack on U.S. computers, and Russia’s treatment of jailed opposition activist Aleksei Navalny.
Putin’s top foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, has said that planning for a face-to-face meeting between the two presidents was under way.
“June is being named, there are even concrete dates,” Ushakov said on April 25.
Russia last month declared 10 employees at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to be personae non gratae in what it called a “mirror” response to Washington’s expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and wide-ranging sanctions as it moved to hold the Kremlin accountable for actions against the United States and its interests.
Biden has repeatedly stated that while he will be tough on Russia over any hostile policies, he is also seeking to cooperate where the two sides have mutual interests. This includes on such issues as nuclear proliferation, climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, North Korea, and fostering peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Speaking during a trip to London on May 3, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington wants a “more stable, more predictable relationship” with Moscow but that will depend on Kremlin policies and how “recklessly or aggressively” it decides to act.