Biden-Putin Summit Takes Place In Switzerland Amid Political Tensions

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet for five hours today (June 16) in Geneva, Switzerland in one of the most anticipated political events of the year.

The summit will take place at Villa La Grange in the Swiss capital, which was chosen as the location because of its history of political neutrality.

The summit will be the first meeting between Biden and Putin, who will be accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as translators.

After the leader’s meeting, a wider U.S. and Russian delegation will meet before both leaders give separate press conferences.

The Putin-Biden summit is being closely watched around the world as U.S.-Russia relations remain tense following several geopolitical clashes and international sanctions in recent years.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 got it suspended from the then-Group of Eight (G8) and earned it international sanctions. Since then, Russia has been accused of U.S. election meddling, two nerve agent attacks, and involvement in cyberattacks and human rights abuses.

Russia has always denied the multiple accusations leveled against it, saying it is a victim of anti-Russian sentiment in the West.

The agenda for the leaders’ meeting is expected to include strategic stability, climate change as well as nuclear stability and cybersecurity, and a range of other topics including the fate of Ukraine, Belarus and the outlook for Russian and U.S. nationals imprisoned in each other’s countries.

Given the adversarial nature of the U.S. and Russia’s relationship, analysts see little chance of breakthrough moments at the Geneva summit. Still, the meeting is seen as a chance to calm relations and introduce some much-needed stability into the relationship.