US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on June 16 in an 18th-century Swiss home overlooking Lake Geneva, a tranquil setting for what expected to be contentious discussions.
Bitter disagreements about election meddling, cyber-attacks, human rights, and Ukraine loom over their first face-to-face encounter since Biden's inauguration on January 20. Strategic nuclear stability, as well as regional conflicts, will be discussed. Biden, who is set to arrive in the United Kingdom on Wednesday to begin his first trip overseas as president, has stated that he will press Putin to respect human rights.
Last Friday, Putin stated that he expected the talks to be held in a positive spirit, but that no breakthrough was expected.
According to Interfax, he claimed that suspicions that Russian hackers were behind a cyber attack that affected beef production in North America and Australia were an attempt to incite a political squabble ahead of the summit.
Despite "destructive noise" from both sides, a common goal to put their relationship "on a more predictable and solid basis" has emerged, according to Robert Legvold, professor emeritus at Colombia University and a Russia expert.
"Geneva summits have been crucial to the partnership over time," he told reporters on Wednesday in the Swiss city.
"And, when it comes to really work out crucial areas of cooperation, such as strategic nuclear weapons control, the majority of those negotiations have also taken place in Geneva."
According to diplomatic sources, the venue will be confirmed later on Wednesday or Thursday. The Swiss police and army have blocked the two parks that encircle Villa La Grange and have built barriers and barbed wire.