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Biden begins tense summit with Putin in Geneva

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GENEVA, Switzerland — President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin kicked off their highly-anticipated meeting Wednesday afternoon amid escalating tensions over cyber attacks, human rights and election interference.

The two presidents briefly shook hands before the cameras, then walked into an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva, where they are expected to meet for several hours. In a photo opportunity inside, each sat before shelves filled with books, with their countries’ flags behind them and a globe positioned in between.

Putin was reported to have said that he hoped the meeting would be “productive,“ while Biden said that it’s “always better to meet face-to-face.” Russian media also released a separate image of the two men standing together, looking at each other while smiling.

Biden, accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Putin, accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, met first using translators. Then the two presidents will each be joined by four additional aides. For Biden, they will be National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and National Security Council Russia director Eric Green.

The men are expected to take breaks in the meetings, as needed, but they will not share a meal together. “No breaking of bread,” a senior administration official said.

Biden’s aides say the president plans to press Putin directly on cyberattacks, human rights and Russian aggression in Ukraine. But, they........

© Politico

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