WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will meet in person with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office on June 16 in Switzerland, the White House announced Tuesday.
The Kremlin also confirmed the date for the meeting between the two countries leaders.
“The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The news of the meeting comes after tensions between the two countries number of disagreements, including the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexi Navalny and interference in the 2016 election.
The United States put heavy sanctions on Russia over election interference, cyber hacking and other “harmful foreign activities” back in April. Those sanctions also included reports of Russia offering “bounties” for Taliban attacks against U.S. troops, and alleged human rights abuses in Crimea.
Shortly after Biden declared the sanctions, he and Putin spoke on the phone and Biden declared a meeting between the two in a third country.
“Our objective here is not to escalate,” Psaki said. “Our objective here is to impose costs for what we feel are unacceptable actions by the Russian government.”
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse criticized Biden on Tuesday for “rewarding Putin with a summit.”
“Instead of treating Putin like a gangster who fears his own people, we’re giving him his treasured Nord Stream 2 pipeline and legitimizing his actions with a summit. This is weak,” Sasse said in a statement.
At the press briefing on Tuesday, Psaki hit back.
“We don’t meet with people only when we agree,” she said. “We may have forgotten over the last couple of years, but this is how diplomacy works.”
Biden is currently scheduled to attend the Group of Seven summit of world leaders in the U.K. from June 11-13 for his first foreign trip as President and he will follow that up with the NATO summit on June 14 in Brussels.