Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden met with his Russian counterpart Vladmir Putin for a high stakes discussion on foreign affairs, including cybersecurity.
CNN reports that despite both parties claiming talks went well, it is clear that division and tension remain. “There has been no hostility,” Putin told reporters. “On the contrary, the meeting took place in a constructive spirit.” Putin also denied that Russia played any role in the increasingly bolder cyberattacks against U.S. and even said that the United States was the biggest offender of this accusation. “As far as cybersecurity is concerned, we agreed that we would begin consultations on that issue and I believe that it is extraordinarily important, both sides have to assume certain obligations there,” he said (New York Times).
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President Biden said that he pressed Putin on a variety of issues, and that he would continue to do so throughout his term. “I made it clear to President Putin that we’ll continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights,” he said. However, while being probed on Russian domestic issues, Putin turned the tables back on the United States, criticizing America’s stability and moral standings.
When asked about Russia’s crackdown on domestic political opposition, Putin brushed off discussions on Alexey Navalny, suggesting the man wanted to get arrested. When it came to the subject of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Putin claimed that the Russian military acted within international law and that America was the aggressor in the situation. Putin also refused to discussion the sensitive matter of Ukraine joining NATO. With the U.S. requesting to meet with Putin, Russia’s power has been confirmed to be of similar stature to that of the United States.
Additionally, the joint statement from the presidents that said the two countries would conduct a dialogue on strategic stability issues and reaffirmed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” This idea had first been declared by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at their Geneva Summit in 1985. However, the White House was aware of the dangers of appearing to embrace the Russian leader and insisted the both men hold separate press conferences after the three-hour meeting (AP News).
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ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ECONOMIC TIMES