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Biden Meets Putin in Geneva Next Week. Preparations and Expectations
11 June, 2021
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Villa La Grange in the eponymous park in Geneva, where the summit of US and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will take place Website of the Geneva Administrative Council
Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden will take place on June 16 at Villa La Grange in the park of the same name in Geneva. Preparations are already underway there. The meeting place was announced by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has since been confirmed by the Kremlin.

The villa, located in the center of La Grange Park, was built in the XVIII century. One of its halls boasts a library that houses tens of thousands of ancient and valuable books.

What preparations are underway ahead of the summit?

On June 8, the active phase of preparations for the next meeting of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States began. In particular, La Grange Park was being prepared for the summit - it was closed to visitors and cleaned.

Security measures are gradually being tightened in the surrounding area. Military and security personnel are present.

Парк Ла Гранж у Женеві, де відбудеться саміт президентів США та Росії Джо Байдена і Володимира Путіна

La Grange Park in Geneva, where the summit of US and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will take place. Photo: Website of the Geneva Administrative Council

On June 10, parking was prohibited on the streets near the venue. Security measures could be stepped up on the shores of Lake Geneva near the park, temporarily deploying air defense equipment and radars.

A several-kilometer-long fence is being set up around the park. Swiss media say that this task was not easy, because in Geneva itself there are not enough such fences, and the structures had to be imported from other cities.

Armored vehicles with antennas and special equipment related to Biden's security were already noticed in the area of ​​the InterContinental Hotel in Geneva this week. It is in this hotel that the President of the United States is likely to stay.

What are the expectations?

Russia does not expect "breakthroughs" from the summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier.

"But there is an objective need to exchange views at the highest level on what threats Russia and the United States see as the two largest nuclear powers in the international arena," Lavrov stated.

He wants the United States to also "work on the mistakes" of the past years. The minister accuses Washington of having a dialogue "solely from the standpoint of accusations."

Lavrov says there are plans to discuss cybersecurity, strategic stability (including nuclear and non-nuclear weapons), missile deployment in Europe, and NATO military bases in Poland and Romania.

READ MORE: A Blow to Political Opponents, a Message for Biden: What is Behind Zelenskyy's Shutdown of Pro-Russian TV Channels?

The United States sees the planned meeting with Putin as an attempt to resolve differences between the two countries, and not at all as a reward or a gesture of reconciliation. Jake Sullivan, the US president's national security adviser, stressed that the meeting was "a vital part of defending America’s interests and America’s values."

He explained that Putin "has a highly personalized style of decision making and so it is important for President Biden to be able to sit down with him face to face." This, Sullivan said, will allow the US president to "to be clear about where we are, to understand where he is, to try to manage our differences, and to identify those areas where we can work in America’s interests to make progress."

The signing of any documents following the talks between Biden and Putin is not planned yet, according to the Kremlin.

READ MORE: Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 and the Aftermath of Putin-Merkel Meeting

How does this affect Ukraine?

The White House planned to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington to meet with Biden ahead of talks with Putin, a source in the Biden administration told Axios. However, the plans were abandoned after the change of management of Naftogaz, the state oil company. Washington is concerned that such changes could indicate a refusal to fight corruption.

Earlier, Zelenskyy offered Biden to meet "anywhere on the planet" before talking to Putin on June 16. Instead, on June 7, a second telephone conversation took place between Zelenskyy and Biden.

The presidents of Ukraine and the United States, among other things, discussed Nord Stream 2 and security cooperation, and Biden invited Zelenskyy to the White House in July 2021, after his meeting with Putin.