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World Biden-Putin summit: Key takeaways from their high-stakes meeting

00:00  17 june  2021
00:00  17 june  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Biden likely to come out of Putin summit empty-handed and risks handing the Kremlin a victory, former US officials warn

  Biden likely to come out of Putin summit empty-handed and risks handing the Kremlin a victory, former US officials warn "If there aren't clear deliverables criticism will grow that this high-level meeting ultimately benefited the Kremlin," a former US official said.Relations between the US and Russia have been deteriorating for years, and Washington has struggled to come up with an effective response to Putin's increasingly aggressive behavior both at home and abroad. Experts warn that Putin has no intention of using the meeting to improve relations, and question what Biden has to gain via the summit.

Both men called their meeting positive, but while Biden said he raised serious concerns and warned of consequences, he did not claim he got Putin to commit to changing his behavior and the Russian leader accepted no responsibility for cyberattacks on the U.S. or for anything else. Biden had called for the meeting with Putin two months ago, alarmed about Russian aggression toward Ukraine. PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin , left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

Skeptics of Biden 's meeting with Putin questioned whether meeting the Russian leader so early in Biden 's term might elevate the ex-KGB spy's stature on the world stage. Biden 's aides were mindful of that risk; one of the reasons they determined against holding a joint press conference was that it could His concluding press conference came ahead of Biden in a piece of highly planned summit choreography. That allowed Biden to rebut many of his points. Still, his spin got its highest profile airing in years, and only underscored the difficulties Biden faced inside the talks raising serious matters with

After tight smiles and a firm handshake that made for an image both men wanted the world to see, followed by a chaotic photo op and about three-and-a-half hours of tense talks, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged to spin their summit at dueling news conferences Wednesday.

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in a room © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Both men called their meeting positive, but while Biden said he raised serious concerns and warned of consequences, he did not claim he got Putin to commit to changing his behavior and the Russian leader accepted no responsibility for cyberattacks on the U.S. or for anything else.

Biden, unlike predecessors, has maintained Putin skepticism

  Biden, unlike predecessors, has maintained Putin skepticism BRUSSELS (AP) — President Joe Biden frequently talks about what he sees as central in executing effective foreign policy: building personal relationships. But unlike his four most recent White House predecessors, who made an effort to build a measure of rapport with Vladimir Putin, Biden has made clear that the virtue of fusing a personal connection might have its limits when it comes to the Russian leader. The president, who is set to meet with Putin face-to-face on Wednesday in Geneva, has repeated an anecdote about his last meeting with Putin, 10 years ago when he was vice president and Putin was serving as prime minister.

Biden ’s meeting with Putin was the first in what is likely to be a years-long process toward reaching common ground on sensitive issues, ranging from human rights abuses and Russian-linked cyberattacks, to diplomatic expulsions and electoral interference. Speaking at a solo Wednesday evening press conference in Geneva following a more than two-hours-long session with Putin , President Biden highlighted the In the run-up to the summit , Biden was less critical than he’s been in the past of the Kremlin leader, pivoting away from his prior characterizations of Putin as a “killer.”

Political stakes for the Biden and Putin meeting have been spiked to new levels every day of the President's European tour. But paradoxically, the rising heat may ease Biden 's political exposure at home. With the world expecting a contentious head-to-head, any outcome of the Biden will also be flattered by comparison with one of the most extraordinary moments in the colorful history of post-Cold War US and Russia relations: Trump's fawning behavior toward Putin at their Helsinki summit . The then-President astounded his own team and the rest of the world by publicly taking the poker-faced

Biden had called for the meeting with Putin two months ago, alarmed about Russian aggression toward Ukraine.

a person wearing a suit and tie: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via AP Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

Since then, the issue of cyberattacks, including a ransomware strike on an American oil pipeline company that disrupted the nation's gasoline supply -- which the U.S. says was carried out by Russian hackers -- has become a key point of contention.

Biden said he made clear that "certain critical infrastructure" is off-limits to attack "period," saying he gave the Russians a list of 16 American entities and told Putin if the attacks continue, the U.S. was ready to hit back.

Putin talks hacking, Navalny and Capitol riot in NBC interview ahead of Biden summit

  Putin talks hacking, Navalny and Capitol riot in NBC interview ahead of Biden summit In an exclusive interview, Putin again denied that Russian hackers or the government itself were behind cyberattacks in the U.S. were "farcical," and he challenged NBC News, and by implication the U.S. government, to produce proof that Russians were involved."We have been accused of all kinds of things," Putin said. "Election interference, cyberattacks and so on and so forth. And not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof. Just unfounded accusations.

President Joe Biden convenes the highest - stakes talks of his long career when he joins Russia's Vladimir Putin for a summit , an encounter set to test his decades of experience on the world stage and lay down an early marker of his diplomatic skills. See Biden and Putin shake hands as summit begins in Geneva.

Although this is their first bilateral summit as heads of state, they have met in the past, having spoken face-to-face in 2011 when Putin was Russia’s prime minister and Biden was the US vice president. Wednesday's discussions will take place at Villa La Grange, an 18th-century The summit will begin with a smaller meeting , attended by just the presidents, alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. After that, discussions will take place between two wider delegations. There is no plan for a working meal or a private one-on-one conversation between

"I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability, and he knows it," he said.

MORE: Biden-Putin summit live updates: 'I did what I came to do,' Biden says

Overall, while Putin gained a fresh presence on the world stage, Biden was under pressure to produce what's being called "deliverables" -- concrete results from how he said he would confront Putin -- and whether he made met his goal of restoring "stability" and "predictability" to the post-Trump superpower relationship, which both Biden and Putin agreed had reached a "low point."

Leading up to the meeting, at the G-7 summit, Biden said the world's democracies were "in a contest with autocrats" while also calling Putin "a worthy adversary."

Here are some key takeaways:

1) What can be learned from the leaders' body language?

Both men will likely seize on photos of them looking confident -- to project an image of cooling tensions between the two countries.

With US-Russia relations at low point, Biden, Putin each bring a wariness to Geneva summit

  With US-Russia relations at low point, Biden, Putin each bring a wariness to Geneva summit When Joe Biden meets Vladimir Putin in Geneva the West's favorite geopolitical bogeyman is not likely to get the easy pass he got from Donald TrumpThree years ago this July, former President Donald Trump stood side by side with the Russian autocrat at a press conference in Finland's capital and blithely dismissed assessments from his own intelligence agencies, defense officials and American lawmakers about Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are meeting for their first, highly -anticipated summit . The talks in Geneva, Switzerland, come at a time when both sides describe relations as being at rock bottom. Discussions are set to include arms control and US allegations of There are hints of possible progress in talks on the fate of US prisoners in Russia, including the former US marine Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage: Moscow has long been pushing for a swap for its own high -profile detainees in America. A truce in the long-running "diplomatic war" is also possible, with

Key Points. The Putin - Biden summit is being closely watched around the world as U.S.-Russia relations remain tense. The two leaders shook hands as they greeted each other at Villa La Grange in Switzerland, chosen as the location for the summit due to its history of political neutrality. The summit , which is expected to last up to five hours, includes an initial meeting between the presidents and their closest officials, and then talks between the wider Russia and U.S. delegations will be followed by separate press conferences with the two leaders. Global media attention on the summit is

ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz highlighted what she called the "incredible" body language in both the handshake outside the Swiss villa then and inside as they sat down for a photo op. The Russian government was quick to release photos of the two men smiling at each other, appearing to frame the leaders as equals.

Joe Biden sitting in a library: President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, June 16, 2021, at the 'Villa la Grange', in Geneva, Switzerland. © Patrick Semansky/AP President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, June 16, 2021, at the 'Villa la Grange', in Geneva, Switzerland.

"I think President Putin, you saw those pictures of president Putin with President Biden. That's essentially what he wants right there," Raddatz said. "The relaxed President Putin sitting back in his chair, Joe Biden looking relaxed as well. All of this is so rehearsed."

MORE: What Putin wants when he meets Biden this week

While the photo op of the pair sitting down was chaotic -- with Russian security pushing out American press at one point -- both leaders appeared relaxed. Biden, who was the first to extend his hand for a handshake inside, sat with his legs crossed, hands in his lap and was seen smiling at several points. Putin leaned back in his chair, as he often does, and looked stoic, yet at ease.

Biden-Putin summit live updates: 'I'm always ready,' Biden says

  Biden-Putin summit live updates: 'I'm always ready,' Biden says President Joe Biden will meet face-to-face with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Switzerland on Wednesday amid rising tensions between the two countries.The two men will face off inside an 18th-century Swiss villa in Geneva, situated alongside a lake in the middle of the Parc de la Grange. The fifth American president to sit down with Putin, Biden has spoken with him and met him before, in 2016.

"They know the world is looking at those pictures, especially Vladimir Putin. He wants to be on the world stage," Raddatz added.

a man in a suit standing in front of a door: U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they arrive for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they arrive for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.

Even with Putin denying Russian involvement in recent U.S. cyberattacks, and his refusal to give any ground on imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny, because relations are at such a point, any signs of progress could be portrayed as a win.

"I think because they have lowered the bar so far, but it's still a bar, that any progress will be seen as a win according to Joe Biden and probably according to Vladimir Putin, too," she said.

2) How did each leader characterize the summit and each other?

Putin, the first to deliver a solo press conference following their talks, said there was "no hostility" on either side and even went out of his way to flatter Biden, calling him a "very balanced, professional man."

"Our meeting took place in a constructive spirit. Indeed, we have arrived at assessments on a number of issues, but both sides expressed their intention to understand each other and to seek common ground. Talks were quite constructive," Putin said.

Still a summit secret: What happened in Helsinki between Putin and Trump?

  Still a summit secret: What happened in Helsinki between Putin and Trump? Democrats are no longer pursuing what happened in private meetings at the 2018 summit in Helsinki, Finland, between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. "The Biden administration is looking forward, not back," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., whose panel once considered subpoenaing Trump’s interpreter to testify about his July 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, where only an American interpreter was also present.

MORE: Biden's Putin moment can't escape Trump's shadow: The Note

Biden also called the summit "positive" and declared it a success at his later news conference, saying, "I did what I came to do."

Neither leader would bite when asked if they could trust the other.

a person wearing a suit and tie: Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S President Joe Biden during their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Mikhail Metzel/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S President Joe Biden during their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

Biden said, "it's not about trust."

"This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest," he said. "Almost anyone that I would work out an agreement with that affected the American people's interest, I don't say, 'Well, I trust you, no problem. Let's see what happens.' You know, as that old expression goes, 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating.'"

Putin said that between presidents "family-style trust" isn't possible -- but, said, there "were flashes of it."

3) Where did they disagree?

Biden said he raised a range of issues with Putin, including human rights, press freedoms and election interference -- topics Putin avoids discussing afterward.

"The bottom line is: I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by," he said.

On the ongoing Russian military aggression toward Ukraine, Putin dismissed the topic, saying it's not the business of the U.S.

"Just like the United States carries out exercises on their territory, we are carrying out exercises. We didn't carry out exercises bringing our equipment to the United States. Regrettably the United States is doing that now," Putin said.

Takeaways from the summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin

  Takeaways from the summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin President Joe Biden's meeting Wednesday with his Russian counterpart came after months of diplomatic wrangling over the details, days of preparation with reams of research and the elaborate construction of two separate lakeside venues for the leaders to appear afterward. © Patrick Semansky/AP President Joe Biden arrives to speak at a news conference after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jake Sullivan et al. sitting at a table: President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Mikhail Metzel/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

As far as Ukraine joining NATO, which Putin strongly opposes, he said it was "nothing to discuss here."

MORE: All eyes on Biden-Putin summit after 'incredibly productive' day at NATO

Then, there's the heavy tension over the imprisoned Russian opposition leader.

When ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott challenged Putin over why so many of his opponents end up dead or in jail -- like Navalny -- Putin deflected by bringing up the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, saying Russia "sympathizes" with the U.S. and that it doesn't want the same to happen in Russia. He falsely suggested those rioters are now being persecuted for their political beliefs.

"It's not about me fearing anything," Putin said.

a group of people looking at a screen: Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a news conference after the U.S.-Russia summit with U.S. President Joe Biden at Villa La Grange in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Denis Balibouse/Reuters Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a news conference after the U.S.-Russia summit with U.S. President Joe Biden at Villa La Grange in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

"This man knew he was breaking the law of Russia," he also said of the "citizen," repeatedly refusing to call him by name.

Putin also said that neither leader invited the other to Washington or Moscow, saying conditions need to be right for that to happen.

4) What did they agree on -- or at least agree to discuss?

The leaders agreed to send their ambassadors back to Washington and Moscow, respectively, in an apparent effort to deescalate tension, though the particulars weren't announced.

While Biden said there were no direct threats in his meeting with Putin, he also said he was clear in the meeting that the U.S. has "significant cyber capabilities" to respond and telling reporters "this is not a Kumbaya moment" but also that he believes "the last thing he wants now is a Cold War."

Biden is playing a long game with Putin. Will it work?: ANALYSIS

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MORE: Still a summit secret: What happened in Helsinki between Putin and Trump?

Cybersecurity was a top priority on the U.S. government's agenda.

a statue of Vladimir Putin in a suit standing in front of a building: Russia's President Vladimir Putin waves as he leaves after the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Denis Balibouse/Pool Photo via AP Russia's President Vladimir Putin waves as he leaves after the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

Putin said the leaders agreed to "consultations" on the subject.

Regarding the two U.S. Marine veterans jailed in Russia, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, Putin said the countries might be possible to find a compromise.

"We discussed it. A certain compromise might be found there. Russia's foreign ministry and the U.S. State Department will work in that direction," Putin said.

The White House has separately said this prisoner swap could encourage the Kremlin to target more Americans unfairly like they believe these two Americans there were targeted and "wrongfully" held, Biden noted in prepared remarks at the start if his news conference.

MORE: Russia outlaws Putin critic Alexey Navalny's organizations as 'extremist'

5) So, what's next?

While Biden isn't going back to Washington with a ton of "deliverables," he is declaring the trip a success, calling the summit "good" and "positive" overall.

When asked on his way out of his news conference why he was confident Putin will change his behavior, Biden raised his finger at a reporter and asked, "What the hell?... When did I say I was confident?"

a man wearing a suit and tie: U.S President Joe Biden speaks to journalists as he is about to leave his press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva, June 16, 2021. © Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images U.S President Joe Biden speaks to journalists as he is about to leave his press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva, June 16, 2021.

Collins followed up noting Biden said earlier it would take "six months to a year" to see if the U.S. and Russia "have a strategic dialogue that matters."

"What I said was, let's get it straight. I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them, and it diminishes their standing in the world. I'm not confident of anything. I'm just stating a fact," he said.

When she followed up again, Biden said, "If you don't understand that, you're in the wrong business."

"I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I'm not confident of anything. I'm just stating a fact," Biden continued.

MORE: White House downplays Biden-Putin summit, not expecting 'huge outcome'

Once he got to the airport, he apologized, and offered for a final time this trip on foreign soil, "America's back."

Even as the White House tried to play down expectations beforehand, intense focus will continue on whether there will concrete results out of the summit. The meeting was key to both leaders and their countries -- but its historic importance is mostly told in the images -- at least for now.

a man standing next to a plane: President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Geneva airport, as he leaves Geneva after the U.S.-Russia summit, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Geneva airport, as he leaves Geneva after the U.S.-Russia summit, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.

Biden is playing a long game with Putin. Will it work?: ANALYSIS .
After their summit this week, President Joe Biden said he is playing a long game with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Will it work?: ANALYSIS. After their afternoon summit in the Swiss capital, Biden said give him time to see if his approach works -- trying to play to Putin's long desire to have Moscow seen as a key power, respected and feared around the globe.

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