President Joe Biden pledged on Sunday (May 30) to tell Russian leader Vladimir Putin at their June summit that Washington will not let Moscow “abuse” human rights.
The face-to-face meeting with the Kremlin leader comes amid levels of tension not seen for years, with Washington now dialling back its ambitions to little more than establishing a relationship in which both sides understand each other and can work together in specific areas.
“I’ll be meeting with President Putin in a couple of weeks in Geneva, making it clear that we will not – we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights,” Biden said in a speech on the summit, which is set for Jun 16.
Since taking office, Biden has imposed new sanctions against Moscow over what US authorities say was the Russian role in the massive SolarWinds cyber attack and repeated meddling in the 2020 presidential election.
In addition, Washington has harshly criticised Moscow for the near-death poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of one of the last open opponents to Putin, Alexei Navalny.
Tensions are also high over Ukraine, where Russia already controls swaths of territory and recently massed troops on the border in a new show of force.
Yet another focus is on Russian-dominated Belarus, which caused an uproar this week after authorities forced an airliner passing overhead to land, then arrested an opponent to President Alexander Lukashenko who had been aboard.