Moscow (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to Geneva, Switzerland, not merely to appear on the same platform as US President Joe Biden, but because “the poor state of relations” between both countries demands a summit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“The main reason for him [to go] is the poor state of the relationship between our two countries. And a critical level of this relationship that demands a summit between our two countries because this is the only way … to prevent further degradation of our dialogue,” Peskov told CNN.
Next week’s high-stakes summit in Geneva comes as relations between both nations hit recent new lows in the first few months of the Biden administration.
The US announced sweeping sanctions in April, punishing Moscow for its interference in the 2020 US election, its ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea, and the SolarWinds cyberattack — one of the worst data breaches to ever hit the US government.
Russia’s ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov was recalled from Washington after Biden called Putin a killer in March. US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan left Moscow after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultations.
Biden told a hangar of US troops on Wednesday he was in Europe to defend the very concept of democracy and warned his Russian counterpart that he planned to raise touchy issues during their chat. “I’m headed to the G7, then to the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” Biden said.
This is why the summit will be “a very good opportunity” to air both countries’ concerns, Peskov said Friday.
He also accused the US of freezing dialogue between the two countries over the past five to seven years “in all the fields, including the vital fields for both our people and even for humankind, like [the] fight with terror [attacks], with climate change, economic cooperation, cooperation in vaccines, in the pandemic … they refuse to cooperate with us in combating digital crime, and so on and so forth.”
As to reports that there would be no joint press conference at the end of the Biden-Putin summit, Pesko
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