- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

U.S. President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Wednesday at the Geneva villa, for their first face-to-face meeting.

Mr. Biden said ahead of the meeting that he wants to discuss Russia‘s “malign” actions, including the harboring of hackers who have waged ransomware attacks on key sectors of the U.S. economy. Other topics include Russia‘s human-rights violations, interference in U.S. elections and cyberattacks on U.S. government agencies.

Mr. Biden has said the U.S. will respond “in kind” if Moscow persists in such destabilizing actions.

The two world leaders arrived separately, and both were greeted by Switzerland President Guy Parmelin. Neither Mr. Biden nor Mr. Putin spoke with the press upon arriving.

The pair also posed for their first photo together at Villa La Grange, the site of the summit.

Mr. Parmelin welcomed the two leaders and wished them a “fruitful dialogue in the interest of your countries and the world.”

Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin then shook hands and entered the villa.

Mr. Putin and his delegation arrived first. He briefly posed for photographs with Mr. Parmelin on the steps of the French-style Villa la Grange before entering the building.

As the meeting began, Mr. Putin thanked his U.S. counterpart for “the initiative to meet.”

“Still the U.S. and Russia relations have a lot of issues accumulated that require the highest level meeting, and I hope our meeting will be productive,” he continued.

Mr. Biden smiled as Mr. Putin spoke, but the two rarely exchanged eye contact. The U.S. president glanced down at his notes, while his counterpart looked down while sitting in his chair. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were also in attendance.

The highly anticipated meeting between the two presidents and their aides is expected to last several hours.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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