The Biden-Putin summit held in Geneva, Switzerland this week , which lasted about three hours, was characterized as a professional meeting instead of friendly. Throughout the years, the diplomatic relations between the two has been deteriorating, which heightened when Russia annexed Crimea to its territories in 2014. A move that Russia also plans to do to Ukraine due to the large presence of Russian military forces in their borders. Moscow has also been accused of intervening in the 2015 conflict in Syria and in meddling with the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in which Trump won.
According to the POTUS, he did not make any threats during the meeting, but he outlined U.S. interests which include cybersecurity. He made it clear to Putin that there would be a response if Russian elements are found in breach of the aforementioned concern. To explain his reaction to the recent cyber attacks launched by Russian hackers, Biden asked how the Russian President would feel if a ransomware attack would hit the European country’s oil network. Putin replied that it would matter.
The question obviously referenced the shutdown of a U.S. fuel pipeline last May, which caused panic-buying and disturbance along the U.S East Coast. The cyberattack closed the Colonial Pipeline Co system for days, which prevented millions of barrels of diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline from pouring from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.
Press Description of the Biden-Putin Summit
The two politicians held solo press conferences to report on the results of their meeting in the lakeside Swiss villa. President Biden seemed satisfied, mentioning that there was no substitute for in-person discussions. Putin on the other hand, described the meeting as constructive, remarking that it proceeded with no hostility.
Both countries have also come to terms to bring their ambassadors back to each other’s capitals, to which recalls had been made after President Biden described Putin as a “killer.” The Russian President mentioned that he was satisfied with the explanation given by the U.S. President, on what prompted the latter to utter the “killer” term against the Russian president.
The meeting touched on the two countries’ differences in handling global and political issues, including human rights violations. Biden mentioned that there would be devastating consequences for Russia if jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is executed. According to Biden, Washington has requested Moscow to eliminate any ransomware attacks coming from Russian elements. The POTUS warned that if it becomes necessary, the U.S. also has the cyber capability to act accordingly.