Far apart at first summit, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin agree to steps on cybersecurity, arms control

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Wednesday to start cybersecurity and arms control talks at a summit that highlighted their discord on these points, human rights and Ukraine.

In their first assembly since he took workplace in January, Biden requested Putin how he would really feel if a ransomware assault hit Russia’s oil community, a pointed query making reference to the May shutdown of a pipeline that induced disruptions and panic-buying alongside the US East Coast.

While Biden pressured that he didn’t make threats in the course of the three-hour assembly, he stated he outlined US pursuits, together with cybersecurity, and made clear to Putin that the United States would reply if Russia infringed on these issues.

Both males used cautious pleasantries to describe their talks in a lakeside Swiss villa, with Putin calling them constructive and with out hostility and Biden saying there was no substitute for face-to-face discussions.

Also Read: Biden, Putin conclude summit between ‘two great powers’; talk nuclear power, human rights

They additionally agreed to ship their ambassadors again to one another’s capitals. Russia recalled its envoy after Biden stated in March that he thought Putin was a “killer”. The United States recalled its ambassador quickly after.

Putin stated on Wednesday that he had been glad by Biden’s clarification of the comment.

But there was no hiding their variations on points resembling human rights, the place Biden stated the results for Russia can be “devastating” if jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny died, or our on-line world, the place Washington has demanded Moscow crack down on ransomware assaults emanating from Russian soil.

“I looked at him and said: ‘How would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?’ He said: ‘It would matter,'” Biden instructed reporters at an uncommon solo information convention, itself an illustration of the tensions between the 2 nations.

The question referred to a cyberattack that closed the Colonial Pipeline Co (COLPI.UL) system for a number of days in May, stopping hundreds of thousands of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet gas from flowing to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.

Biden additionally vowed to take motion towards any Russian cyberattacks: “I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability. And he knows it.”


Speaking to reporters earlier than Biden, Putin dismissed US issues about Navalny, Russia’s elevated army presence close to Ukraine’s jap border and US ideas that Russians have been answerable for the cyberattacks on the United States.

He additionally advised Washington was in no place to lecture Moscow on rights, batting away query about his crackdown on political rivals by saying he was attempting to keep away from the “disorder” of a well-liked motion, resembling Black Lives Matter.

“What we saw was disorder, disruption, violations of the law, etc. We feel sympathy for the United States of America, but we don’t want that to happen on our territory and we’ll do our utmost in order to not allow it to happen,” he said.

Also Read: Alexei Navalny ‘deliberately moved to be arrested’, claims Putin

He also seemed to question the legitimacy of arresting the rioters who attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, seeking to stop Biden’s certification as president after he beat his predecessor, Donald Trump, in the November election by over 7 million votes.

Biden said any comparison between what happened on Jan. 6 and the Black Lives Matter movement was “ridiculous.”

US-Russia relations have been deteriorating for years, notably with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its 2015 intervention in Syria and US charges – denied by Moscow – of meddling in the 2016 election won by Trump.

Neither side gave details on how their planned cybersecurity talks might unfold, although Biden said he told Putin that critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyberattacks, saying that included 16 sectors that he did not publicly identify.

“We want some fundamental guidelines of the street that we will all abide by,” Biden said he had told Putin.

Biden said he raised human rights issues because it was in the “DNA” of his country to do so, and also because of the fate of US citizens jailed in Russia.

Putin said he believed some compromises could be found, although he gave no indication of any prisoner exchange deal.

Putin, 68, called Biden, 78, a constructive, experienced partner, and said they spoke “the identical language.” But he added that there had been no friendship, rather a pragmatic dialogue about their two countries’ interests.

“President Biden has miscalculated who he’s coping with,” said US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump. He called it “disturbing” to hear Biden suggest that Putin cared about his standing in the world.

Trump was accused by both Democrats and some Republicans of not being tough enough on Putin, particularly during a jovial 2018 meeting in Helsinki between the two leaders.

This time, there were separate news conferences and no shared meal.

Both Biden and Putin said they shared a responsibility, however, for nuclear stability, and would hold talks on possible changes to their recently extended New START arms limitation treaty.

In February, Russia and the United States extended New START for five years. The treaty caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy and limits the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

A senior US official told reporters that Biden, Putin, their foreign ministers and interpreters met first for 93 minutes. After a break, the two sides met for 87 minutes in a larger group including their ambassadors.

Putin said it was “onerous to say” if relations would improve, but that there was a “glimpse of hope.”

“This is not about trust, this is about self-interest and verification of self-interest,” Biden said, but he also cited a “genuine prospect” of improving relations.

In Pics | Inside the NATO summit

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