World Biden will hold solo press conference after Putin meeting
Blinken's warning for Putin: He will answer for ransomware attacks
Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned that Vladimir Putin will have to answer for the ransomware attacks that caused meat and gas prices to skyrocket.'We would prefer to have a more stable, predictable relationship with Russia. We’ve made that clear. But we’ve made equally clear that if Russia chooses to act aggressively or recklessly toward us or toward our allies and partners, we’ll respond,' Blinken told Axios' Mike Allen in an interview that aired on HBO.
will hold a solo press conference in Switzerland after his meeting with Russian President later this week, the said Saturday morning.
"While we are still finalizing the format for the meeting with President Putin and his delegation, we can confirm a few details, including the plan for both a working session and a smaller session, as well as a solo press conference by President Biden following the meeting," a White House official said.
Biden's meeting with Putin will happen Wednesday and be the culmination of his Europe trip. Biden before then is participating in summits with the United Kingdom, the G7, NATO and the European Union.
Biden to champion democracy in first foreign trip
Joe Biden will fight what he calls a "defining" battle for democracy on his first foreign presidential trip, meeting top US allies in Europe ahead of a tricky summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin. "This is a defining question of our time," Biden wrote in The Washington Post ahead of his trip. "Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century prove their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries? I believe the answer is yes. And this week in Europe, we have the chance to prove it.
Biden did a bilateral press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday morning and did the same with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson Thursday.
Joint press conferences are often used to show unity between foreign leaders. Biden said "We're on the same page" in his conference with Macron Saturday. But the White House alluded to the simmering tensions between the U.S. and its geopolitical rival Russia in its statement on the solo press conference Saturday.
"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward and a solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting—both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns," the White House official said.
Vladimir Putin Returns Compliments to Donald Trump Ahead of Joe Biden Meeting
The two presidents will meet in Switzerland on June 16 for their first bilateral summit since Biden came to office.Trump issued a statement on Thursday praising his relationship with Putin and touting a 2018 meeting between the two in Helsinki, Finland. He also mockingly offered Biden good luck, saying "don't fall asleep during the meeting.
Video: Rep. McCaul: Timing of Putin, Biden summit is 'interesting' (FOX News)
"We’re under no illusions that this is going to be an easy relationship," a senior administration official said in a background call with reporters Saturday, regarding the U.S.-Russia relationship.
"The President has been very clear in two phone calls now with President Putin that, perhaps unlike some of his predecessors, he is not going to simply elide or gloss over the differences that we have; he’s going to take them on with candor and directly," the senior administration official said.
Biden's meeting with Putin comes at an extraordinarily tense time for the relationship between the two countries. Among the points of contention are arms control; Russia's ambitions in Eastern Europe; cyber-security and Russian criminals allegedly behind recent ransomware attacks on American companies and infrastructure; sanctions; the health of imprisoned Russian dissent leader Alexei Navalny; and more.
Biden Defends Solo Presser Without Putin, Says It's 'Not a Contest' to 'Embarrass Each Other'
"I don't want to get into being diverted by 'did they shake hands, who talked the most' and the rest," said the U.S. president.During a press conference at the end of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in the U.K. on Sunday, Biden told reporters that he's not conducting a joint conference with Putin because "this is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference and try to embarrass each other.
Putin in an interview with NBC News Friday called Biden a "career man" in politics who is likely to provide stable decision-making, but also said U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated to their "lowest point in recent years."
"That's a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements, on behalf of the sitting U.S. president," Putin told NBC.
The Russian president also snapped at anchor Lester Holt when asked about the litany of his political opponents who have died through various means in what most consider politically motivated assassinations ordered by Putin. He said of Holt's question on the topic: "This looks like some kind of indigestion except that it's verbal indigestion. You've mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals."
Biden, notably, has publicly called Putin a "killer."
Fox News' Patrick Ward and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
Putin and Biden won't be friends but see path together .
There was no talk of gazing into Vladimir Putin's "soul" and the Russian president didn't try to gaslight a rookie US leader. But after earlier remarks that included calling Putin "a killer," Biden on the eve of the summit described the Russian leader as "a worthy adversary" and at a news conference afterward said that they would see where they had common interests. Putin, who at his 2018 summit with Donald Trump in Helsinki was widely seen as dominating the reality television star turned president, called Biden "a very experienced politician" who was able to speak in rare detail in the "very constructive" more than three hours