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Biden to press Putin on human rights during June 16 meeting

US President Joe Biden at the White House Jan. 25, 2021 (Adam Schultz/White House) | Russian President Vladimir Putin during virtual meetings on March 18, 2021. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he will press Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights when the two leaders meet in June.

The June 16 summit in Geneva, Switzerland, comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia.

“I’m meeting with President Putin in a couple weeks in Geneva making it clear we will not, we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights,” Biden said during a speech honoring the U.S. holiday Memorial Day on May 30.

The White House said on May 28 that it was planning to “move ahead” with the meeting between the two leaders after Microsoft flagged a cyberattack on U.S. government agencies by Nobelium, the group behind last year’s SolarWind hack that originated in Russia.

The Kremlin has said it has no information about the attack.

Biden said in March that he believed Putin was a “killer,” which prompted a diplomatic row that led to Moscow recalling its ambassador to Washington for consultations.

Biden first proposed a summit in a call with Putin in April as his administration prepared to levy sanctions against Russian officials for the second time during the first three months of his presidency.

The White House said Biden plans to discuss Ukraine during the summit. Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014 and Kremlin-backed separatists took control of a chunk of eastern Ukraine that same year.

The Biden administration has also criticized Russia for the arrest and jailing of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and publicly acknowledged that it has low to moderate confidence that Russian agents were offering bounties to the Taliban to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan.