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Read & Watch: Blow-by-blow account of Biden-Putin summit

WION Web Team
Geneva, SwitzerlandUpdated: Jun 17, 2021, 12:31 AM IST


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Welcome to WION's live coverage of the historic Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin summit that is currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

The two leaders are meeting for the first time since the US President took office and labelled his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as a 'killer'. Putin and Biden will be discussing important matters with the aim to establish a stable relationship between the two countries.

US and Russia relations have been at a historic low for the past several years. Biden, after becoming President, had imposed sanctions on Russia over the SolarWinds cyberattack. Putin, ahead of the talks with Biden, had said the allegations on cyberattack were "unfounded accusations" without "evidence or proof".

After taking office, Biden had said that the days of the United States "rolling over" in the face of Russia's aggressive actions were over, showing America's assertiveness in the post-Covid era.

After the US president invited his Russian counterpart for the summit, Kremlin agreed but played down any expectations, signalling it would be business as usual. However, throughout the past months, Biden has said he will bring up contentious issues to discuss with his Russian counterpart.

Follow each move, gesture and remark from the two world leaders as the evening unfolds...

16 Jun 2021, 11:52 PM (IST)

US President Joe Biden sits in a limousine to head to the airport after finishing the press conference regarding the US-Russia summit in Geneva.

Joe Biden

16 Jun 2021, 11:32 PM (IST)

Biden said Putin's criticism of US human rights was "ridiculous" while adding that the "last thing" Putin wants is new Cold War.

The US president informed that that the tone of talks with Putin was "good" and "positive".

Biden stressed that he "made it clear that we will not tolerate attempts to violate our democratic sovereignty or destabilise our democratic elections and we would respond."

Biden said he had "told President Putin we need some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by", adding, "I did what I came to do."

Joe Biden

16 Jun 2021, 11:26 PM (IST)

The US president was asked on Putin comparing events with the Black Lives Matter protests, Biden said: "That's a ridiculous comparison."

When asked if he trusts Putin, Biden said: "This is not about trust. It's about self interest."

The reporters asked Biden on the media enviorment in Russia, the president replied: "I cannot make the judgement. I don't think he is into changing, he is into what the government does."

"Russia had the chance to implement a fair government, Putin decided that Russia is based on unity and not on ideological differences. Russia is based on government control but I do understand that this did not help them to land as one of the great nations in the world."



16 Jun 2021, 11:17 PM (IST)

On asked about the short duration of the meeting, the US president said: "We didn't need it as we brought a larger group. We had covered so much. There was a summary done, Lavrov and Blinken talked about what they covered."

"For two hours there we looked at each other like what next?" 

"There is a genuine prospect for things to work between us, there were no threats, just simple assertions," he said.

I heard he quoted my mom.

"We talked about basic fundamental things, I explained things on a personal basis, we just let each other know what we expected," the US president said on his meeting with Putin.

Biden informed that Putin was dedicated towards helping Afghanistan and Iran.

16 Jun 2021, 11:11 PM (IST)

"Confidence matters to Putin, his credibility worldwide shrinks when Russia meddles in other countries," the US president told reporters during the press conference.

Joe Biden

16 Jun 2021, 11:06 PM (IST)

"We discussed concerns on Ukraine and Belarus, I did what I came to do," the US president said.

"I came to communicate directly to clearly lay out our nation's values and he heard it from me," Biden said.

"The meting was close to four hours, where we disagreed we stated."

"I hope the US is showing the world we are back, standing with our allies, taking on the biggest challenges in the world," the US president said.

"We've gotten a lot of business done on this trip, this is about how we move from here
this is about practical, forward, no-nonsense decisions," Biden said.

16 Jun 2021, 10:57 PM (IST)

The US president addressing reporters after his summit with Putin said: "We don't derive our rights from the government, we possess them because we are born with it."

"I made it clear that we are going to continue to raise the issue of fundamental rights and Navalny."

"I made it clear to him we will not tolerate the violence of democratic sovereignty, we need to have some basic rules of the road," the US President told reporters.

"I intended to discuss the issue of startegic stability and I did, I'm glad we agreed to bilateral strategic stability dialogue."

"We discussed cyber security and we agreed to work together to make sure Iran doesn't acquire nuclear weapons," the US president said. 

"Our problems are the same as theirs," he said.

16 Jun 2021, 10:54 PM (IST)

US President Joe Biden while describing the meeting with President Putin said: "The meeting was pretty straightforward, there is no substitute to face to face talks."

"I told Putin my agenda is not against Russia, it's for the American people."

"Human rights is in the DNA of our people. It is always going to be on the table," the US President asserted.

Joe Biden

16 Jun 2021, 10:24 PM (IST)

When asked about Russia's perseived "unpredictability", Putin said: "If the West thinks so it does not mean it is true."

The Russian president mentioned US withdrawal from the INF treaty, Open Skies treaty, and asked "is that what you call stability?"

"What is stable about US support of coup in Ukraine?"

"We cannot fully understand the political climate in the US," the Russian President said.


"We met to make this world a safer place," Putin told reporters.

16 Jun 2021, 10:11 PM (IST)

On the question of trade relations, Putin said "all depends on the US, we did not introduce restrictions."

Putin compared Russia's jailing of political opponents to the arrests of rioters during the US capitol January 6 attacks.

"Did not exchange invitations with Biden, conditions should be ripe for such visits," Putin said.

"Have no illusions after talks with Biden," Putin said.

On the question of  interviews with the US media, the Russian President said "misinterpretations are inevitable". Biden should decide whether to be interviewed by the Russian media, he said.

Putin on being reminded of Biden's remarks as vice-president when he met him for the first time and said, he (Biden) didn't see a soul when he looked into Putin's eyes.

The Russian president replied: “We didn’t talk about souls, but national interests.”

Putin says Sputnik, RT have been labeled as foreign agents in the US although they comply with US laws, while the US media does not.

On talks with Biden, the Russian president said it was a "frank and candid conversation".

"Neither of us tried to exert any pressure. It was a fruitful and productive."

16 Jun 2021, 9:56 PM (IST)

On the human rights issue, Putin brought up Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, gun violence as evidence of US human rights failures.

"In American cities, people are killed every day. Let’s talk about Afghanistan - one bombing and 120 people are killed, clearly civilians," the Russian president told reporters.

“Who bears responsibility for this, who’s the killer?”

"US concerns about Arctic militarisation have no grounds, we restore the ruined infrastructure," Putin asserted.

"Russia, US can and must cooperate on the Arctic," the Russian president said.

On the question of the controversial North Sea route, Putin told reporters that Russia will fully stick to its international obligations.

"All we are doing in the Arctic is modernising things, including environmental protection," Putin stated.

"US and Russia understand each other's concerns on red lines, we haven't so far defined the specifics," Putin said.

16 Jun 2021, 9:42 PM (IST)

"Throughout 2020 we have received ten requests on cyberattacks, in 2021 two requests were received, Putin said adding, "according to US sources most cyberattacks come from the US."

Putin said Russia got no response to its requests from the US regarding cyberattacks.

"Cybersecurity is extremely important for whole world as well as for Russia, US," the Russian president said.

"Russia faces same cyberthreats as the US, including attacks on Russian healthcare system," Putin said.

"Russia holds military drills on its own territory, never deploys troops and equipment in foreign borders, while US does it right now," Putin told reporters after meeting Biden.

On Russian opposition leader Navalny, Putin said: "Navalny knew he was violating the law when he did not report about his whereabouts as he returned to Russia after treatment."

"Navalny came back to Russia because he wanted to break the law, so what discussion should we have?"

Biden touched upon human rights at talks, Putin confirmed.

"Russia will always abide by law when protecting its interests," Putin asserted.


16 Jun 2021, 9:32 PM (IST)

On the question of strategic stability and disarmament, Putin told reporters that the US and Russia hold "special responsibility" for it in the world.

Talking about the overall assessment of the talks, Putin informed that there was "no hostility" and that the meeting with President Biden was held in a "constructive spirit"

"We have the right idea about subjects," Putin said at the post-summit press conference.

Putin added that on cyber security both leaders agreed on consultations as the way ahead.

16 Jun 2021, 9:28 PM (IST)

"We talked about cyber and other issues," the Russian president confirmed during the press conference, adding," we discussed strategic stability, regional security and cyberthreats with Biden."

On Ukraine, the Russian President said Biden agrees the Ukraine conflict settlement should be based on the Minsk accords.


16 Jun 2021, 9:21 PM (IST)

Russian President Putin said he agreed with US President Biden on the return of ambassadors to Moscow and Washington, however, an exact date is unknown but is likely to happen soon.

16 Jun 2021, 9:20 PM (IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold a press conference shortly.

16 Jun 2021, 9:14 PM (IST)

The White House said the two leaders concluded their last round of meetings during the summit at 5:05 pm (1505 GMT).

The talks between President Putin and US President Biden lasted for around three and a half hours, the White House said.


16 Jun 2021, 9:02 PM (IST)

The White House announced the summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Putin at Geneva has come to an end.

16 Jun 2021, 8:55 PM (IST)

Biden seeks 'mutual interests' & 'rational way' with Putin

Russian President Putin arrived directly for the meeting amid tight security as his motorcade made its way through the Swiss city. US President Biden had arrived a day earlier for the summit.

Putin-Biden summit

16 Jun 2021, 8:15 PM (IST)

The second round of the historic summit has begun in Geneva, after the first session ended half hour early. The second session started after a break of 45 minutes and is expected to last longer. It also hosts a larger group of foreign ministers, security advisers and others.

After the second session, Joe Biden is expected to hold a solo press conference.


Picture credits: Twitter (Will Vernon)

16 Jun 2021, 7:53 PM (IST)

As the two Presidents took a break after the first part of the summit, we see how the two Presidents reacted in each other's company.

16 Jun 2021, 7:37 PM (IST)

"I am not sure how this is going to work, we've got time," Biden told Putin as the two leaders began their talks. 

"I know that you have been on a long trip and had a lot of work, still the US-Russian relations have a lot of issues accumulated that require meetings at the highest level," Putin told Biden.

"I hope our meeting will be productive," the Russian president added.

16 Jun 2021, 7:19 PM (IST)

"We try to determine where we have mutual interests and cooperate and where we don't, establish a predictable and rational way in which we disagree," Biden told Putin as the two world leaders sat down to hold lengthy discussion on a range of issues.

16 Jun 2021, 8:50 PM (IST)


16 Jun 2021, 6:52 PM (IST)

A scuffle broke out between the media personnel from Russia and the US, which is said to be the most chaotic pooler in the last decade.

Reporters were asked to step back but when the media personnel failed to do so, the Russian security pushed back the red rope that was acting as a divider between the leaders and the media. This led to a screaming match between the Russian security and White House officials, which also led to some reporters falling down.

However, journalists complained that the two Presidents, along with their top diplomats, smiled and seemed 'amused' by the scufle.


16 Jun 2021, 6:40 PM (IST)

In his opening speech at the start of the summit, Joe Biden described Russia and the US as "two great powers". His words have come as an important hint at Biden's trial of establishing a stable relationship between the countries.

16 Jun 2021, 6:35 PM (IST)

Biden, who has vowed a clear-eyed, tougher approach with Putin than his predecessors at the start of their terms, has already made clear that he will raise the fate of jailed Americans.


16 Jun 2021, 6:33 PM (IST)

The two Presidents, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, have been joined with their top diplomats, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov respectively.

16 Jun 2021, 6:32 PM (IST)

During the talks between the two countries, media personnel will not be allowed inside the room. The authorities have created a 'media pool' in which one representative from each medium will be allowed to stay in the room and spray at the top of the meeting.

Media pool

16 Jun 2021, 6:03 PM (IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Geneva on Wednesday for the summit with US President Biden and started the meeting saying it was "always better to meet face to face".

Read more: Always better to meet face to face, Biden tells Putin at Geneva summit

16 Jun 2021, 6:16 PM (IST)

The Russian President arrived in Switzerland's Geneva where he was joined by President Biden at the 18th-century villa amid high security, a little before the historic summit.

16 Jun 2021, 6:12 PM (IST)

As US President Biden gets set to meet Russian President Putin at Geneva, we take a look at the historic meetings between Russian and US leaders.

Have a look

16 Jun 2021, 6:13 PM (IST)

The US Presidents have not always been best buds with Vladimir Putin. From Joe Biden labelling Putin as a 'killer' to Bill Clinton "thinking he was tough enough to hold Russia together", the reactions have been a big mix.

Have a look at how much the US Presidents got along with Putin.