World: Some US allies near Russia are wary of Biden-Putin summit

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.

US media reported that Biden had decided to hold a separate presser since his top aides were wary about a joint one, aiming to avoid the scenario of the Helsinki summit in 2018. Back then, former US leader Donald Trump welcomed Putin 's statements about non-interference in the 2016 The stops in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland aim to highlight the US commitment to restoring alliances, revitalizing the transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with allies to address global challenges. On June 16, Biden will meet with Putin in Geneva to discuss a wide range

The first US - Russia summit of the Biden presidency will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 June. That comes at the tail end of Biden 's already scheduled trip to the United Kingdom for the G7 summit and Brussels for a meeting of Nato leaders, giving the president plenty of time to hear from US allies before sitting down with Putin . White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in a statement announcing the meeting, said the summit would cover a "full range of pressing issues" as the US seeks to "restore predictability and stability" to its Russian relations. That echoes comments Secretary of

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Central and Eastern European nations are anxious about the coming summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wary of what they see as hostile intentions from the Kremlin.

FILE - In this May 9, 2021, file photo, Russian paratroopers march the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, marking the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this May 9, 2021, file photo, Russian paratroopers march the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, marking the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Some in the countries that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact during the Cold War worry that Washington could scale down support for its allies in the region in a bid to secure a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.

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.

Relations between the US and Russia were reasonably good in the 1990s and 2000s, but have taken a nosedive over the past decade. During Donald Trump’s presidency, Moscow was repeatedly used as a political stick with which to beat the Republican leader. He was relentlessly accused by his political Otherwise, the Biden administration has continued treating Moscow as a strategic rival. The incumbent US president accused Russia of launching cyberattacks against the US , meddling in its elections, and, at one point, implied Putin was “a killer.” The Russian president downplayed the characterization as

Biden put the idea of a meeting to Putin during a call against a backdrop of growing tensions in April. According to the US president, a meeting would help the two sides to “discuss the full range of issues facing the US and Russia .” He set out his goal of achieving “a stable and predictable relationship with Russia , consistent with US interests.” The month before, Peskov said that Putin would refuse to allow “America to speak with Russia from a position of strength,” rather than one of mutual respect and consideration. Think your friends would be interested?

FILE - In this March 10, 2011, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Central and Eastern European nations are anxious about the Wednesday, June 16, 2021, summit meeting between now U.S. President Biden and Putin, wary of what they see as hostile intentions from the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this March 10, 2011, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Central and Eastern European nations are anxious about the Wednesday, June 16, 2021, summit meeting between now U.S. President Biden and Putin, wary of what they see as hostile intentions from the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

“I think there have been doubts as to the resoluteness of the present administration to face Russian aggressive actions in a decisive manner,” said Witold Rodkiewicz, chief specialist on Russian politics at Warsaw's Center of Eastern Studies, a state-funded think tank that advises the Polish government.

Biden and Putin agree relations are abysmal. Will their meeting change anything?

  Biden and Putin agree relations are abysmal. Will their meeting change anything? President Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin agree the nations' relationship is at a low point before their summit. Trump sends the ex-KGB chief 'warmest regards.'Both said as much in interviews leading up to Wednesday's meeting in Geneva, which comes amid tensions over myriad issues, including a spate of cyberattacks emanating from within Russia; Putin's military adventurism along his country's border with Ukraine; and his imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who survived poisoning with a Russian nerve agent.

Biden added that it was “potentially a good sign of progress” that Putin had made the offer. The two leaders are scheduled to hold a bilateral summit on Wednesday in Geneva – their first meeting since Biden took office in January. The summit comes amid rising concerns over hacker crimes, including ransomware attacks on US infrastructure. The Biden administration has said Moscow bears responsibility for the attacks, saying repeatedly that “responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be looking to reopen an explosive personal row sparked by his American counterpart, Joe Biden , if the pair meet this year for talks designed to reverse a deterioration in bilateral relations. That’s according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who told reporters on Asked whether Putin was prepared to move past the insult, the official said that “ we are talking about strategic stability here – it is something that concerns the whole world And along with the state of our bilateral relations, these are the topics on the agenda.” During a call amid growing tensions in April

Both Russia and the U.S. have sought to moderate expectations about Wednesday's summit in Geneva, ruling out any breakthroughs amid the worst tensions between the two powers since Soviet times, especially after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, accusations of Russian interference with U.S. elections and hacking attacks, as well as other strains.

Rodkiewicz, however, noted the White House’s decision to waive sanctions against the German company overseeing the prospective Russian-built Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline running under the Baltic Sea to Germany. That project could potentially allow Moscow to bypass Ukraine, Poland and other countries in Eastern and Central Europe that collect transit fees on the energy.

FILE - This file frame from a video released on April 23, 2021, by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows, Russian troops board landing vessels after drills in Crimea. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This file frame from a video released on April 23, 2021, by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows, Russian troops board landing vessels after drills in Crimea. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

“In a clear, unequivocal way the administration signaled that for them, Europe is Germany basically, and German interests are going to be taken into account, while the interests of other players in Europe are going to be sort of put on the back burner,” Rodkiewicz told The Associated Press.

What can Biden and Putin hope to accomplish at their summit?

  What can Biden and Putin hope to accomplish at their summit? After years of mounting antagonism, expectations are low, red lines are drawn and the presidents have plenty to disagree on. But there are openings.The Biden administration hopes merely to foster a more "stable and predictable relationship" with Russia. For Putin, the summit in Geneva will be all about demonstrating that his country is taken seriously as an international power.

As President Joe Biden makes his first foreign trip in office, a majority of Americans say they're confident in his abilities to handle global affairs, but with tensions between U . S . and Russia escalating ahead of a summit between the two nations this week, less than half of Americans say they trust About 57% of the more than 500 American adults polled by Ipsos on Friday and Saturday said they have confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Despite the optimism, however, only a slim majority (52%) said they trust Biden to negotiate with world leaders on America's behalf

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2017, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the troops at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. In an interview on Russian state television, Putin, ahead of his June 16, 2021, meeting with President Joe Biden, issued a strong, new warning that the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was unacceptable for Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2017, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the troops at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. In an interview on Russian state television, Putin, ahead of his June 16, 2021, meeting with President Joe Biden, issued a strong, new warning that the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was unacceptable for Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Nowhere else are worries about the summit more acute than in Ukraine. It has been locked in a tense tug-of-war with Russia ever since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula following the ouster of Ukraine's Moscow-friendly president in 2014 and a Russia-backed separatist insurgency in the country's east — a conflict that has killed more than 14,000.

“Ukraine fears that agreements between Biden and Putin could turn it into a peripheral country,” said Vadim Karasev, an independent Kyiv-based political analyst.

Kyiv worries that Nord Stream 2 would deprive it not only of transit fees for pumping Russian gas to Europe but also erode its strategic importance and weaken it politically.

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.

A U.S. failure to block the pipeline would mark “a personal loss for President Biden” and a “serious geopolitical victory for the Russian Federation," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He tried in vain to push for a meeting with Biden before the summit but has spoken with him by phone. Biden assured Zelenskyy of the unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Kyiv appeared overly eager to interpret the conversation in its favor. In its initial readout of the call, Zelenskyy's office claimed Biden emphasized the importance of offering Ukraine a specific roadmap for joining NATO. But it then changed that version to clarify it was Zelenskyy who pushed for providing Ukraine with a membership action plan; it said Biden promised that Kyiv's position will be taken into account when discussing strategic issues within NATO.

FILE - In this June 4, 2018, file photo, U.S. Marines take a part in a military exercise in the Baltic Sea near the village of Nemirseta, about 340 kilometers (211 miles) northwest of Vilnius, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Lithuania. Ahead of a summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16, 2021, Moscow has accused the European Union and NATO members that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact of “Russophobia,” casting them as key instigators of Western sanctions against Russia. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this June 4, 2018, file photo, U.S. Marines take a part in a military exercise in the Baltic Sea near the village of Nemirseta, about 340 kilometers (211 miles) northwest of Vilnius, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Lithuania. Ahead of a summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16, 2021, Moscow has accused the European Union and NATO members that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact of “Russophobia,” casting them as key instigators of Western sanctions against Russia. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)

In an interview on Russian state television, Putin issued a strong, new warning that the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was unacceptable for Russia. He noted it would allow the alliance's missiles to reach Moscow and other key targets in western Russia in only seven minutes, a destabilizing situation that he said was comparable to Russia putting its missiles in Mexico or Canada.

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.

FILE - This image released on Thursday, April 22, 2021 by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows, Russian military vehicles move during drills in Crimea. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This image released on Thursday, April 22, 2021 by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows, Russian military vehicles move during drills in Crimea. Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow also has bristled at NATO’s joint drills with Ukraine, saying they reflect the alliance’s aggressive intentions. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

In 2008, NATO promised that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually be welcome to join the alliance despite protests from Russia. Four months later, Russia routed Georgia in a five-day war that erupted when the Georgian leadership tried to reclaim control of a separatist region.

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, attend the main stage of the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command-and-staff exercises at the Kapustin Yar training ground, Russia. In an interview on Russian state television, Putin, ahead of his June 16, 2021, meeting with President Joe Biden, issued a strong, new warning that the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was unacceptable for Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2020, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, attend the main stage of the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command-and-staff exercises at the Kapustin Yar training ground, Russia. In an interview on Russian state television, Putin, ahead of his June 16, 2021, meeting with President Joe Biden, issued a strong, new warning that the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO was unacceptable for Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Earlier this year, Russia bolstered its forces near Ukraine and warned Kyiv that it could intervene militarily if Ukrainian authorities try to retake the rebel-controlled east. Moscow has since pulled back at least some of its troops, but Ukrainian officials say Russia has kept a massive contingent close to the border.

Biden to Putin: Help me help you

  Biden to Putin: Help me help you In a summit of self-interest, the U.S. president tried to make Putin understand that it's in Russia’s interest to play nice with the United States.America has significant cyber capabilities, Biden pointed out. Surely, Putin wouldn’t want to do anything on the cyber front to make his country the recipient of U.S. wrath. Does Putin really want to improve Russia’s trade status like he says? Maybe he shouldn’t detain American businessmen. And what happens if Putin and his country keep interfering in the elections of other countries? “His credibility worldwide shrinks,” Biden said.

“The Kremlin has signaled that Ukraine’s NATO bid is fraught with a new, hot conflict in Europe, something that Washington definitely doesn’t want,” Karasev said.

Alex Petriashvili, senior fellow at the Rondeli Foundation think tank in Tbilisi, Georgia, deplored the lack of consensus within NATO on granting Ukraine and Georgia clear plans for membership.

“It is certainly negatively affecting the aspirations of the two countries and gives the advantage to Russia, which is fiercely opposing their membership,” Petriashvili said.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis argued that Russia seeks “to reestablish control of internal, foreign and security policies of the states in Central and Eastern Europe” that it considers part of its “privileged sphere of interests.”

”Like in Soviet times, both conventional and hybrid measures are used to assert control,” he told AP.

Russia has rejected allegations it is trying to destabilize the countries or draw them back into its orbit. It has accused the European Union and NATO members that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact of “Russophobia,” casting them as key instigators of Western sanctions that limited Moscow’s access to global capital markets and restricted imports of modern technology.

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks at a front-line position from a shelter as he visits eastern Ukraine, where the country's military has been locked in a conflict with Russia-backed separatists that has killed more than 14,000 people. Ukraine is especially wary about the June 16, 2021, summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, fearing that agreements between the two leaders could weaken Kyiv’s strategic importance. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks at a front-line position from a shelter as he visits eastern Ukraine, where the country's military has been locked in a conflict with Russia-backed separatists that has killed more than 14,000 people. Ukraine is especially wary about the June 16, 2021, summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, fearing that agreements between the two leaders could weaken Kyiv’s strategic importance. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)

Landsbergis has shrugged off concerns that Washington could leave its Central and Eastern European allies in the cold.

Opinion: How meeting with Biden put Putin on top of the world

  Opinion: How meeting with Biden put Putin on top of the world The Geneva summit never should have happened, writes Garry Kasparov. Now that it's over, I'm even more mystified as to why it happened at all. I can answer for Putin, of course. Dictators love events that put them on an equal footing with democratic leaders and sitting one-on-one with the president of the United States is the most coveted prize of all. Putin already scored a major victory the moment the summit was announced, especially since Biden himself proposed the meeting. For Putin, it wasn't just a meeting between heads of government -- for him, it was literally the highest point, the top of the world.

“We have no reasons to doubt our closest trans-Atlantic ally,” Landsbergis told AP. “The Biden administration has on numerous occasions underscored its commitment to work in close coordination with its European allies.”

Latvia’s top diplomat, Edgars Rinkevics, has similarly emphasized that Washington “steadfastly remains the closest ally” and “plays a key role in European security.”

Ondrej Ditrych, director of the Institute of International Relations think-tank, also said he expects Biden to take a firm stance in Geneva.

“Biden is not naive, even as ahead of the summit the administration seems to make overtures to make Russia amenable to discussing strategic issues in earnest,” he said in Prague. “I would not be worried that a détente that would be detrimental to Central and Eastern Europe countries would be in the making.”

Some others aren't so optimistic.

“The real reason to worry is that perhaps Putin might come out of this meeting encouraged by what he sees on the other side, and that might make him bolder to press his advantages in a regional context,” said Rodkiewicz, the Warsaw-based analyst.

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Isachenkov reported from Moscow. Associated Press writers Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland; Liudas Dapkus in Vilnius, Lithuania; Jari Tanner in Tallinn, Estonia; Karel Janicek in Prague, Czech Republic; and Sophiko Megrelidze in Tbilisi, Georgia, contributed.

Opinion: How meeting with Biden put Putin on top of the world .
The Geneva summit never should have happened, writes Garry Kasparov. Now that it's over, I'm even more mystified as to why it happened at all. I can answer for Putin, of course. Dictators love events that put them on an equal footing with democratic leaders and sitting one-on-one with the president of the United States is the most coveted prize of all. Putin already scored a major victory the moment the summit was announced, especially since Biden himself proposed the meeting. For Putin, it wasn't just a meeting between heads of government -- for him, it was literally the highest point, the top of the world.

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