(GENEVA) — U.S. President Joe Biden held a high-stakes summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday at what the leaders agree is a “low point” in the U.S.-Russia relationship.

The two men faced off inside an 18th-century Swiss villa, situated alongside a lake in the middle of Geneva’s Parc de la Grange. The fifth American president to sit down with Putin, Biden has spoken with him and met him before, in 2016.

Having called Putin a “killer” and saying he’s told him before he has no “soul,” Biden told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega on Monday that he also recalled the Russian leader as being “bright” and “tough.”

“And I have found that he is a — as they say, when you used to play ball — a worthy adversary,” Biden said.

Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:

Jun 16, 3:22 pm

Biden departs Geneva to end first overseas trip as president

Biden gave a thumbs-up as he boarded Air Force One, leaving his summit with Putin after a week traveling across Europe meeting with world leaders in his first foreign trip as president.

Biden told reporters at the airport he thinks he succeeded in what he said was his main mission of showing, on the world stage and to G-7 and NATO allies, that “America is back.”

“They’re glad America’s back — and they acted that way,” Biden said, offering final thoughts on his high-profile trip.

Biden reiterated that world leaders “thank[ed] him for arranging a meeting with Putin, and said he was a better position to represent the West “knowing that the rest of the West was behind us,” adding he owed them all a “debt of gratitude.”

Jun 16, 2:54 pm

Biden snaps at reporter over whether he’s confident Putin will change, later apologizes

When asked on his way out of his solo press conference by CNN’s Kaitlin Collins why he was confident Putin will change his behavior, Biden walked back toward reporters, raised his finger and said, “What the hell?… When did I say I was confident?”

Collins followed up noting Biden said earlier it would take “six months to a year” to see if the U.S. and Russia “have a strategic dialogue that matters.”

“What I said was, let’s get it straight. I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it (?) diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating a fact,” he said.

When she followed up again, Biden said, “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.”

But by the time he arrived at Air Force One a short while later to return to Washington, Biden walked over to reporters and apologized.

“I owe my last question an apology. I shouldn’t have — I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave,” he said. “Anyway. Thanks for being here,” adding he feels good about where the country is headed following his first foreign trip.

Jun 16, 2:09 pm

Biden says meeting Putin not about trust but about American ‘self-interest’

Asked now that he’s met face to face with Putin if he thinks can trust him, Biden said the summit was “not about trust.”

“This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest,” Biden said. “Almost anyone that I would work out an agreement with that affected the American people’s interest, I don’t say, ‘Well, I trust you, no problem. Let’s see what happens.’ You know, as that old expression goes, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’”

Asked whether he could trust Vladimir Putin, Pres. Biden says, “This is not about trust—this is about self-interest and verification.” https://t.co/oU2NdPiY8k pic.twitter.com/BifyHQZhQO

— ABC News (@ABC) June 16, 2021

Jun 16, 2:05 pm

Biden says he raised many issues with Putin, but did not claim he changed his behavior

Biden said he raised with Putin — and will continue to raise — cases like jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the two “wrongfully” imprisoned Marine veterans, Paul Whlean and Trevor Reed, and the ability of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to operate, for starters.

However, he did not claim he caused Putin to change his behavior on those matters, signaling he thought the face-to-face meeting in itself a success.

“There were no threats, just simple assertions made. And no, ‘Well, if you do that then we’ll do this’ with anything I said. It was just letting him know where I stood, what I thought we could accomplish together, and what, in fact, if there were violations of American sovereignty, what would we do,” Biden said of the meeting.

On cyberattacks, Biden said they agreed to task expert in both countries “to work on specific understandings about what’s off-limits and to follow-up on specific cases that originate in other countries.” Putin refuses to say Russian hackers are to blame for some of the recent cyberattacks, despite U.S. intelligence indicating otherwise.

On the Middle East, Biden said Putin raised the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He also said they agreed it’s in the interests of both nations not to let Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

Jun 16, 1:48 pm
Biden: “I did what I came to do”

Biden declared the summit a success at his solo press conference, saying “I did what I came to do.”

“Number one: identify areas of practical work our two countries can do to advance our mutual interests and also benefit the world. Two: communicate directly, directly, that the United States will respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies. And three: to clearly lay out our country’s priorities and our values so he heard it straight from me,” he said.

“There’s much more work ahead. I’m not suggesting that any of this is done,” Biden added, before taking questions. “But we’ve gotten a lot of business done on this trip.”

Jun 16, 1:44 pm
Biden calls summit positive: ‘I did what I came to do’

Following Putin’s preser, Biden delivered his readout on the meeting in a solo news conference from outside his hotel in Geneva.

He started with a joke about that chaotic photo op earlier, in which Russian security pushed American reporters, before reading from prepared remarks giving his take on the summit following at the end of his week abroad.

“I’ve just finished the — the last meeting of this week’s long trip, the U.S.-Russian summit. And I know there were a lot of hype around this meeting, but it’s pretty straightforward to me,” Biden said, that “there’s no substitute … for face-to-face dialogue between leaders, none.”

“President Putin and I — share a unique responsibility to manage the relationship between two powerful and proud countries, a relationship that has to be stable and predictable,” he continued. “We should be able to cooperate where it’s in our mutual interest. And where we have differences, I wanted President Putin to understand why I say what I say, and why I do what I do, and how we’ll respond to specific kinds of actions that harm America’s interest.”

Biden said he told Putin that his agenda isn’t “against Russia or anyone else” but “for the American people.”

Jun 16, 12:56 pm
Putin’s impression of Biden: ‘Very balanced, professional man’

While Putin defended Russia on several matters in his news conference, he called the summit with Biden as “very efficient, substantive” and offered his fresh impression of the American president to reporters.

“He is very balanced, professional man,” Putin said. “He’s very experienced. He talked a bit about his family and what his mother told him. They are important things — maybe they’re not quite relevant — but it does talk about the level of his moral values, which is very attractive,” he said.

“And it seems to me that we did speak the same language. Certainly doesn’t imply that we must look into each other’s eyes and find a soul,” Putin said, seeming to refer to a past comment from Biden, who says he looked Putin in the eye during a visit to the Kremlin in 2011 and told him he had no soul, a moment Putin said he doesn’t remember.

“But essentially, our talks were pragmatic,” he said.

Jun 16, 12:40 pm
ABC News to Putin on imprisoned opposition leader Navalny: ‘What are you so afraid of?’

ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott pressed Putin directly on the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navlany.

“The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned, or jailed is long. Alexey Navalny’s organization calls for free and fair elections, an end to corruption. But Russia has outlawed that organization, calling it extremist. And you have now prevented anyone who supports him to run for office,” Scott said. “So my question is, Mr. President, what are you so afraid of?”

Putin responded by bringing up the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and finished by saying, “And fears, I don’t want to talk about that. That’s absolutely irrelevant.”

“You didn’t answer my question, sir,” Scott said. “If all of your political opponents are dead, in prison or poisoned, doesn’t that send a message that you do not want a fair political fight?”

Putin again raised the U.S. insurrection, noting that 400 people were arrested.

“As for who is killing whom and throwing whom in jail, people came to the U.S. Congress with political demands,” Putin said. “They face prison sentences of up to 20, maybe even 25 years.”

“They are being called ‘domestic terrorists.’ They are being accused of a number of other crimes,” he added, deflecting from Navalny whom he refuses to call by name.

Jun 16, 12:15 pm
Putin, in solo news conference after summit, says ‘no hostility’ with Biden

After the summit, Putin was the first of the two leaders to hold a solo press conference.

He said there was “no hostility” between himself and Biden and called their talks “quite constructive” with both sides seeking “common ground,” according to a translator.

“I think that both of these sides showed a willingness to understand one another and to find ways to bring our positions closer together,” he said through a translator.

Putin said the leaders agreed on the “return of American ambassadors to Moscow and our ambassador to Washington,” and regarding cybersecurity, said, “We agreed that we would begin consultations in this respect.”

When a reporter asked a question in English about jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navlany, Putin first laughed, took out his earpiece and claimed he didn’t hear what was asked through the translator, before saying he believes Nalvalny “wanted to consciously break the law.”

“This man knew he was breaking the laws of Russia. He has been twice convicted,” Putin said, refusing to call him by name but instead refer to him as, “the citizen whom you have just mentioned.”

Jun 16, 11:45 am
Biden gives thumbs-up leaving summit

The summit between the two presidents ended earlier than expected. Biden was the first to leave — giving a thumbs-up to reporters as he walked out.

He departed Villa La Grange for his hotel in the “Beast,” the armored presidential limousine that had been idling outside.

The two men spent two hours and 38 minutes meeting together, according to the White House — shorter than up five hours White House officials said their encounter might last.

Next, Putin is expected to hold a news conference. Biden will wait to begin his own press conference until his counterpart’s concludes.

Jun 16, 11:26 am
Expanded meeting ends early

A White House official said the expanded bilateral meeting broke at 5:05 p.m. local time (11:05 a.m. ET), after a little more than an hour.

The two men spent two hours and 38 minutes meeting together in total, according to the White House — shorter than the four to five hours the Biden administration said it expected it to last.

Biden’s ride, the Beast, is staged outside the Villa.

The second meeting was going to be broken into two parts — with a break splitting up the two parts — but the official said that it was all just one long part.

It appears the leaders are done meeting for the day.

Jun 16, 11:21 am
White House downplays possible prisoner swap

White House officials have significantly downplayed the prospect of a prisoner swap for two U.S. Marine veterans, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, being held in Russia, ahead of the meetings.

“That’s certainly something the Russians have been pushing for,” said ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega. “They have basically said this could encourage the Kremlin to target more Americans unfairly like they believe these two Americans there were targeted.”

Russian officials have indicated they would like to trade Reed and Whelan for two Russians held in the U.S.: Viktor Bout — one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers and dubbed “the Merchant of Death” — and also Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot currently serving a lengthy jail sentence for a drug smuggling conviction.

Whelan’s family overnight released an audio message from him recorded from the prison camp in central Russia where he is held. In it, he appealed to Biden to help free him.

Jun 16, 11:06 am
2nd, expanded meeting underway

A White House official confirmed the expanded bilateral meeting started about an hour ago, at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET).

ABC News Correspondent Karen Travers said the summit is about setting the U.S.-Russia relationship on a new path forward to a more stable, predictable relationship.

“In terms of the stakes, it’s been striking to hear officials on both sides say over the last few days heading into this summit that there are very low expectations for some major breakthrough between President Biden and President Putin,” Travers said. “This is all about starting a conversation.”

She also noted how different this meeting looks from President Donald Trump’s encounter Putin in Helsinki in 2018, and the two took questions standing side-by-side at a joint news conference.

Jun 16, 10:13 am
What does success look like for Biden and Putin?

ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz highlighted the “incredible” body language seen in Biden and Putin’s face-to-face meeting and said the images captured there already make the summit a success for Putin.

“I think President Putin, you saw those pictures of president Putin with President Biden. That’s essentially what he wants right there,” Raddatz said. “The relaxed President Putin sitting back in his chair, Joe Biden looking relaxed as well. All of this is so rehearsed.”

“They know the world is looking at those pictures, especially Vladimir Putin. He wants to be on the world stage,” she added.

Even with Putin denying Russian involvement in recent U.S. cyberattacks, his refusal to discuss imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny with Biden going into the meeting, and the two leaders still likely to air their grievances in dueling press conferences later, Raddatz said, since relations are so low, any progress will be a win.

“I think because they have lowered the bar so far, but it’s still a bar, that any progress will be seen as a win according to Joe Biden and probably according to Vladimir Putin, too,” she said.

Jun 16, 9:47 am
First meeting concludes, expanded meeting next

The first meeting between Biden, Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has concluded after nearly two hours, according to White House and Russian officials.

“They are moving into the expanded bilateral meeting,” a White House official said, with five aides present on each side, including the U.S. and Russian ambassadors.

On the U.S. side, Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and National Security Council Russia experts Eric Green and Stergos Kaloudis, are accompanying Biden.

The Russian delegation is expected to include Lavrov, Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov, Lavrov’s deputy Sergei Ryabkov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian military Gen. Valery Gerasimov, and Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov. Kremlin envoys on Ukraine and Syria, as well as Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, are also expected to attend.

Jun 16, 9:34 am
Here’s more of what Biden and Putin said to each other

In a photo-op surrounded by chaos, some reporters were let inside a small door leading to the room where Biden and Putin were already sitting down for the first meeting of their summit.

“I would like to thank you for your initiative in today’s meeting,” Putin said, according to a transcript from the Kremlin. “I know you’ve had a long trip, a lot of work. Nevertheless, there are many issues in Russian-American relations that need to be discussed at the highest level, and I hope that our meeting will be productive.”

Biden replied, “Thank you, as I said outside, I think it’s always better to meet face to face.”

The summit is expected to go as long as five hours, and while the two leaders are expected to take breaks and expand their meeting to a larger group, no updates are expected until their dueling solo press conferences later.

Jun 16, 9:28 am
American press says Russian security pulled on their clothes

At least two American reporters who made it inside the meeting said afterward that Russian security pulled on their clothes as they tried to push the journalists out.

When Russian security yelled and shoved at journalists to get out, both press and White House officials “screamed back that the Russian security should stop touching us,” according to a pool reporter.

“Both presidents watched and listened to the media scuffle in front of them. They appeared amused by the scene,” the reporter said.

The media scrum also appeared to momentarily delay the Swiss president’s departure from the villa. His motorcade pulled up for him to leave, and officials or security tried to move the reporters out of the way. The Swiss president came out and was able to pull away.

Jun 16, 9:09 am
Biden to use summit to talk directly, clearly with Putin about differences: Blinken

One critical message the president will carry, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is demanding that Russia stop “harboring in any way criminal organizations engaged in cyberattacks, including ransomware” and urging “Russian cooperation in dealing with these criminal organizations to the extent they’re operating from Russian territory.”

But tough talk and mounting U.S. sanctions have not deterred Russian behavior, from crackdowns against domestic political opposition and pro-democracy movements to aggression overseas against neighbors Ukraine and Georgia or western democracies and their elections.

Pressed on that Sunday by ABC’s This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, Blinken said U.S. sanctions “can be” effective, “especially when they’re done in coordination with other countries.”

To that end, he emphasized what the administration had said was the importance of Biden meeting American allies in the Group of Seven, NATO and the European Union before sitting down with Putin.

But some of those alliances are bruised after four years of former President Donald Trump’s badgering and questioning — with many Europeans in particular unsure whether “Trumpism” is here to stay or whether “America is back,” as Biden has made his tagline for this trip.

Blinken didn’t take that political question head on, but he said the U.S. and its allied democracies have “to actually demonstrate in concrete ways that democracies working together are making a difference for their people and for people around the world” — especially in contrast to Russia and China.

Jun 16, 8:49 am
WH disputes Biden nodded when he and Putin asked whether they trust each other during ‘chaotic’ photo op

Biden and Putin’s first — and likely only — photo op inside their summit was met with a chaotic scene.

According to a pool report, the chaos began outside the room with “10 minutes of a shoving match” between the U.S. and Russian security, press and delegations, with each side aiming to get inside. American reporters were first to go in but not all were let inside.

Already seated, Biden nodded while they shouted questions, including whether the two leaders can trust each other — but the White House is already disputing that Biden was nodding yes to that.

“It was a chaotic scrum with reporters shouting over each other. @POTUS was very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally. He said just two days ago in his presser: ‘verify, then trust,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said in a tweet.

Another reporter asked Putin if he feared imprisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and what he would do if Ukraine is allowed to join NATO. Putin didn’t answer.

On the way out, another shoving match ensued.

“Lots of shoving and grabbing – it was extremely aggressive,” one American pool reporter said. “The Russian security pulled on our clothes and shoved us as we tried to stay in the room. They eventually pushed us out the door.”

Jun 16, 8:00 am
Biden and Putin sit down for first summit meeting

Inside Villa La Grange, the high-stakes summit has officially kicked off.

Speaking to reporters briefly at the top of their first closed-door sit-down, Putin said he hoped for a “productive” meeting, and Biden said “it is always good to meet face-to-face.”

While the scene was chaotic, both leaders looked comfortable. Biden, who was the first to extend his hand for a handshake earlier, sat with his legs crossed, hands in his lap and was seen smiling at several points. Putin also leaned back in his chair, as he often does.

Seated in a library before their respective country’s flag and with a globe in between, the pair were joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the first small session of the day.

Jun 16, 7:39 am
Biden and Putin shake hands

Following brief remarks from Swiss President Guy Parmelin wishing them well, Biden and Putin shook hands in front of cameras, with both men grinning, before entering the summit site.

Biden and Putin’s meeting is expected to last four to five hours total with multiple sessions.

First, they’re taking part in a small session, joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, ahead of a larger working session.

Biden and Putin are also expected to hold dueling, solo press conferences following the summit.

Jun 16, 7:30 am
Switzerland’s president wishes Biden and Putin ‘a fruitful meeting’

Swiss President Guy Parmelin wished Biden and Putin “a fruitful meeting” on Wednesday, just minutes before the two leaders sit down for their much-awaited bilateral summit in Geneva.

“On behalf of the Swiss government, I would like to welcome you to Geneva, the city of peace,” Parmelin said in prepared remarks in French while welcoming them to Villa La Grange, where the meeting is taking place.

“It is an honor and a pleasure for Switzerland to host you here for this summit and, in accordance with its tradition of good offices, promote dialog and mutual understanding,” he added. “I wish you both a fruitful meeting in the interest of your two countries and the world.”

Jun 16, 7:22 am
Putin arrives a summit site ahead of Biden

At 7:04 a.m. ET, Putin’s motorcade arrived at the summit site, Villa La Grange. While both leaders tend to run late, Putin was only four minutes behind his scheduled arrival, which came ahead of the American president.

Reporters shouted questions at Putin when he exited his car and was greeted by the Swiss president.

“Do you trust President Biden?” they asked. “How are you feeling sir?”

Putin did not engage.

Jun 16, 6:57 am
Putin touches down in Geneva

Putin’s plane landed in Geneva on Wednesday at around 12:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET), as planned, ahead of his meeting with Biden.

The Russian president was seen descending a covered staircase from his jet to the tarmac, where several black cars comprising his motorcade awaited. He gave a small wave before getting in one of the cars. His motorcade departed the tarmac at 12:41 p.m. local time (6:41 a.m. ET).

Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday.

Swiss President Guy Parmelin is scheduled to greet Biden and Putin at Villa La Grange, where their much-awaited summit is taking place, at 1:10 p.m. local time (7:10 a.m. ET). Parmelin is then expected to deliver welcome remarks and pose for a photo with Biden and Putin before the two leaders begin their meeting.

Jun 16, 6:08 am
What Putin wants when he meets Biden

When Putin meets Biden on Wednesday in Switzerland, experts in Moscow say for all their differences, the two leaders want something similar from their first summit: to cool things down.

The U.S. and Russia’s relations are the worst they have been since the Cold War, and since 2016, in particular, seem locked in almost permanent crises.

Biden has said he wants a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia, one that would allow it to focus on other foreign policy priorities that are more important to it, like taking a harder line with China. The Kremlin for its part has faced a continuous and intensifying barrage of sanctions — the latest in April — and with its crackdown on opposition at home and aggressive actions abroad is increasingly becoming a pariah with western countries.

Since coming to office, Russia has appeared to want to get Biden’s attention. The president offered Putin the summit after Russia massed thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border in April.

But now, having got Biden to the table, analysts said Putin has a clear proposal to deliver in Geneva: stay out of Russian domestic politics and Russia might act less troublesome abroad.

“The Kremlin wants to transition to a respectful adversarial relationship from a disrespectful one we have today,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former diplomat at Russia’s embassy in Washington and now a commentator on foreign affairs.

“That is, it wants to be treated the same way the Soviet Politburo was treated by the US in 1970-80s,” Frolov told ABC News. “Meaning no name-calling” — such as Biden calling Putin a “killer” — “no personal sanctions on the leadership, no democracy lectures, regular personal summit meetings; respectful tone of discussions, no tangible support for Russian opposition.”

It will not be an invitation for détente but instead to return to the later years of the Cold War when Putin was a KGB agent and the Soviet Union and the U.S. saw each other as enemies but tried to maintain a predictable relationship. And, crucially, where Russia was treated as an equal.

“For this, the Kremlin is prepared to promise to behave more responsibly,” Frolov said.

“This seems to be in line with what the White House sees as a desirable deliverable,” he continued. “So unless one of the leaders stormed out of the meeting shouting expletives, the summit would be a major success.”

Jun 16, 5:11 am
Biden to hold solo press conference

Biden will go before the press corps alone following his summit with Putin in Geneva on Wednesday. He defended that choice by saying he doesn’t want the attention to be on physical details, but rather the substance of their discussions from their own points of view.

“I don’t want to get into being diverted by, did they shake hands? How far did they — who talked the most and the rest,” Biden said in England on Sunday. “He can say what he said the meeting was about and I will say what I think the meeting was about. That’s how I’m going to handle it.”

Jun 16, 4:02 am
Biden to name nine ambassadors as his foreign trip comes to a close

As Biden’s first foreign trip as president prepares to come to a close, he’s announced a new slate of ambassadors to represent the United States — another instance of the Biden administration showcasing their desire to restore the U.S. presence on the world stage.

Biden’s nominees include Ken Salazar for ambassador to Mexico, C. B. “Sully” Sullenberger, III, for the rank of ambassador during his tenure of service as representative of the U.S. on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Thomas R. Nides for ambassador to Israel, Julianne Smith for the United States permanent representative to NATO, Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles for ambassador to Costa Rica, Julie Chung for ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Sharon Cromer for U.S. ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia, Troy Damian Fitrell for ambassador to the Republic of Guinea and Marc Ostfield for ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay.

A source familiar with the nominations underscored the diversity among the nominees, following the pledge Biden made to have an administration that “looks like America,” and stressed that even the political picks bring relevant experience to the table for their respective roles.

Jun 16, 3:00 am
Why are Putin and Biden meeting?

Though the two leaders have met before, it will be Biden’s first face-to-face with the foreign “adversary” since being elected president.

During a phone call with Putin in April, Biden was the one to propose the meeting, tacked onto which will serve as a major test for the new president who is well acquainted with the Russian leader.

It comes at a time when both Biden and Putin agree that relations between Russia and the U.S. are at an all-time low. In recent weeks, ransomware attacks in the U.S. have been linked to Russian hackers, and outrage against the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has grown.

Ahead of the summit, the White House tailored its message to emphasize that the meeting was taking place because of differences with Russia, not in spite of them.

“This is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other. It’s about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship are with Russia,” Biden said during a news conference Sunday.

“We’re not looking for conflict. We are looking to resolve those actions which we think are inconsistent with international norms, number one. Number two, where we can work together,” he continued.

Jun 16, 2:04 am
All eyes on Biden-Putin summit after ‘incredibly productive’ day at NATO

Wrapping up his first NATO summit since taking office, Biden said it was an “incredibly productive day” with American allies, which included individual meetings with roughly a dozen other leaders on the margins of the gathering. But the focus continues to be on his next major summit, when he comes face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

Biden said there was a consensus among his fellow heads of state at NATO, saying they were “glad” he was meeting with Putin early in his presidency.

“Every world leader here that’s a member of NATO that spoke today — and most of them mentioned it — thanked me for meeting with Putin now,” Biden said in a press conference on Monday from the NATO headquarters in Brussels. “Every single one that spoke, and I think there were probably about 10 or 12 that spoke to it, saying they were happy that I did that, that I was going to do that.”

The president has previously described Putin as a “killer,” who has no soul and is a “KGB thug.” Asked by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega Monday about what he has learned from his previous meeting with him in 2016 and what his mindset is like walking into a summit with Putin, Biden said he is “bright” and “tough.”

“I have found that he is a, as they say, when you used to play ball, a worthy adversary,” Biden said.

Biden was also asked how he could trust Putin coming out of their summit and the president said it wasn’t so much about trusting him, but rather “agreeing.”

“I’m hoping that — that President Putin concludes that there is some interest, in terms of his own interest, in changing the perception that the world has of him,” he said.

Jun 16, 12:56 am
Here’s what Biden’s expected to raise in his meeting with Putin

A senior White House official emphasized Tuesday that ransomware will be a “significant topic of conversation tomorrow,” as well as other cyber activity, and Biden has already said that if Navalny dies in custody, it would be a “tragedy” and “another indication that Russia has little or no intentions of abiding by basic, fundamental human rights.”

Though Putin refused to even call Navalny by name in a recent NBC News interview and has said his imprisonment shouldn’t be a concern for leaders outside of Russia, White House officials said for Biden, the issue of human rights is still important to him.

“Certainly human rights are not off the table, and individual high-profile cases are not off the table. But otherwise, I’m not going to preview what he’s going to say,” the official told reporters.

Arms control, the extension of the New START Treaty and America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will be on the agenda for the meeting, officials said Tuesday.

Jun 15, 11:06 pm
Majority of Americans trust Joe Biden to negotiate on US behalf with foreign counterparts: POLL

An ABC News/Ipsos poll found a majority of the American public has a great deal or good amount of trust in Biden to negotiate on the country’s behalf with other world leaders.

That level of trust — 52% — roughly tracks the president’s overall approval rating, which averages 53%, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker, and is about equal to the level of trust Americans have in Biden to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically. Still, 3 in 10 Americans, including 70% of Republicans, say they do not trust Biden at all to negotiate with his foreign counterparts, and about 2 in 10 (18%) Americans say they trust the president just some.

A slightly larger majority (57%) say they have confidence in the president to do the right thing regarding world affairs, while about 4 in 10 (42%) do not have much or any confidence in Biden to do so, according to the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.

Compared to the level of trust and confidence in his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, at roughly the same point in his administration, Biden’s marks are noteworthy and even more so when factoring in the current level of partisan division in the United States.

Jun 15, 9:36 pm
David Whelan talks about his brother who is being held in Russian labor camp

Putin indicated on Friday that he’d be willing to talk about a potential “prisoner swap” between two U.S. Marine veterans, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, for Russians being held in the U.S.

Russian officials have indicated they would like to trade Reed and Whelan for two Russians held in the U.S.: Viktor Bout — one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers and dubbed “the Merchant of Death” — and also Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot currently serving a lengthy jail sentence for a drug smuggling conviction.

David Whelan told ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis on Tuesday that his brother, who is manufacturing clothes in a Russian labor camp, is a hostage and that it’s difficult to know when that might come to an end.

“I’m always hopeful that he’ll be released, but I don’t have any idea what the timeline might be,” David Whelan said. “The Biden administration has been very outspoken about Paul’s case and we’ve appreciated that as a family. It’s given us hope and it’s given him hope.”

“But he’s still a hostage and there’s no evidence yet that the Russians are willing to exchange in any exchange for him,” David Whelan continued. “They said last week — the Russian government did — that they would not consider Paul for exchange.”

Whelan’s family released an audio message from him on Monday recorded from the prison camp in central Russia where he is held. In it, he appealed to Biden to help free him.

“Please bring me home to my family and my dog Flora where I belong. Thank you, Mr. President, for your commitment to returning me home and bringing this deplorable hostage situation to an expedient conclusion,” Whelan said in the recording that his family said was made on May 30.

Jun 15, 8:10 pm


Relations between the 2 countries at an all-time low


Ahead of the summit, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz said Biden needs to walk a fine line in an effort not to alienate Putin.

“He wants the relationship to be better — the U.S.-Russia relationship — to be better than it has been,” Raddatz said on ABC News Live Prime Tuesday. “And they both agree that it’s at one of the lowest points in history.”

“So, President Biden will have to give his grievances to Putin, telling him what he wants to do — and yet, we even heard a bit of that today, a little flattery, a little, you know, he is a ‘tough guy,’ he is a ‘bright guy,’ President Putin, and he is a ‘worthy adversary,"” Raddatz continued. “That is diplomacy 101.”

“He wants the relationship to be better, the U.S.-Russia relationship, to be better than it has been,” @MarthaRaddatz reports, ahead of Pres. Biden’s meeting with Pres. Putin. https://t.co/9yl3Xnqe2h pic.twitter.com/oJRmM1aHzJ

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) June 15, 2021

In a separate interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis, Masha Gessen, a staff writer at the New Yorker and author of “Surviving Autocracy,” agreed that “Russian-American relations are at an all time low.”

“Biden is faced with an incredibly difficult challenge,” Gessen added.

Watch the interview:

“Russian-American relations are at an all time low,” @mashagessen tells @LinseyDavis ahead of Pres. Biden’s meeting with Russian Pres. Putin.

“Biden is faced with an incredibly difficult challenge.” https://t.co/9yl3Xnqe2h pic.twitter.com/BPEpDw4O14

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) June 15, 2021

Jun 15, 7:31 pm
Biden’s ‘watch me’ comment raises stakes ahead of Putin summit: The Note

Amid all the high-level shadow boxing setting up President Joe Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden has added a new wrinkle — one that amounts to a test for himself that awaits him back home.

Biden has cast this moment in the world community in broad terms for the United States — a chance to assert the power of democratic nations in the face of challenges from China and Russia in particular. Asked Monday what he is telling allies who may be worried about any American slide toward autocracy, Biden again went big.

“What I’m saying to them is, watch me,” Biden said. “That’s why it’s so important that I succeed in my agenda.”

Biden was nonchalant in his condemnation of what he called the “phony populism” of former President Donald Trump. Speaking about Republicans, he flatly observed that “the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people.”

Still, just hours earlier, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell served notice that his brand of hardball is still going to be played, with a warning about what Republican Senate control would mean for any Supreme Court vacancy under a Democratic presidency.

McConnell is objecting to congressional scrutiny of Trump-era Justice Department strategies, just like he did to the proposed Jan. 6 commission. And it’s still far from clear whether any infrastructure or climate-change legislation can pass with Republican support, to say nothing of the prospects for tax reform.

Asked about Putin’s laughing response to Biden’s assertion that he is a killer, Biden said his message back would be that he is laughing as well. The world now is watching — and will still be when Biden and Putin are both back home.

-ABC News Political Director Rick Klein

Jun 15, 6:40 pm
Biden thanks Swiss for holding US-Russia summit

Biden met with Swiss President Guy Parmelin and Foreign Minister Ignzio Cassis Tuesday and, according to a White House readout, Biden thanked the country for hosting the U.S. -Russia summit and “expressed appreciation for Switzerland’s unique historical role providing a neutral ground for diplomacy and negotiations.”

Biden and the leaders also talked about the strong relationships between the U.S. and Switzerland on many fronts. They also discussed Switzerland’s role as the U.S. protecting power in Iran for 40 years and their contributions to the global COVID response effort.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Jun 15, 6:02 pm
Biden says he has the full support of NATO allies to meet with Putin

The high-stakes meeting between Biden and Putin comes on the heels of a summit with NATO leaders in Belgium’s capital, another first for Biden as U.S. president.

“What I’ll convey to President Putin is that I’m not looking for conflict with Russia but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities,” Biden said at a press conference in Brussels. “And we will not fail to defend the trans-Atlantic alliance or stand up for democratic values.”

Biden said not a single NATO leader expressed reservations about him meeting with Putin but rather have “thanked” him for doing it.

“I had discussions with them about — in the open — about what they thought was important from their perspective and what they thought was not important,” he said.

Jun 15, 5:14 pm
Here’s what we know about who will be inside the the summit meetings

Biden and Putin’s meeting is slated to begin on Wednesday around 7 a.m. ET and last four to five hours total, with multiple sessions.

The two leaders will first take part in a small session, joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, before taking part in a larger working session.

The two leaders are also expected to host dueling, solo press conferences following the summit.

Biden said they weren’t holding a joint news conference, as Trump did with Putin, because he didn’t want the focus to be on talking time or body language. Doing it this way leaves Putin with less of an opportunity to embarrass the American president, as he’s historically tried to do.

“I think the best way to deal with this is for he and I to meet, he and I to have our discussion,” Biden said Sunday in England, on another leg of his first trip as president. “I don’t want to get into being diverted by, did they shake hands, who talked the most and the rest.”

Jun 15, 4:50 pm
How is Biden prepping for his meeting with Putin?

While he is no stranger to Putin, Biden has been intensely prepping for the meeting, receiving at least once-a-day briefings for weeks leading up to the summit.

“He’s been preparing for this like he prepares for every significant international engagement. He reviews the issues — written material; he cares about digging into the details. That very much matters to him,” a senior administration official said Tuesday.

The White House has also called on experts to help Biden prep for the meeting — including Fiona Hill, a top Russia expert and National Security and former Trump administration official who famously said she considered faking a medical emergency to end Trump’s press conference with Putin in 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.

Wednesday’s meeting is slated to last four to five hours total, with multiple sessions.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Jun 15, 4:40 pm
Biden says he has the full support of NATO allies to meet with Putin

The high-stakes meeting between Biden and Putin comes on the heels of a summit with NATO leaders in Belgium’s capital, another first for Biden as U.S. president.

“What I’ll convey to President Putin is that I’m not looking for conflict with Russia but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities,” Biden said at a press conference in Brussels. “And we will not fail to defend the trans-Atlantic alliance or stand up for democratic values.”

Biden said not a single NATO leader expressed reservations about him meeting with Putin but rather have “thanked” him for doing it.

“I had discussions with them about — in the open — about what they thought was important from their perspective and what they thought was not important,” he said.

Jun 15, 4:12 pm

Biden says he’s ‘always ready’ ahead of Putin meeting

Biden arrived in Geneva earlier Tuesday less than 24 hours ahead of his meeting with Putin, scheduled for Wednesday around 7 a.m. ET and expected to last several hours.

Looking to project confidence ahead of the high-stakes summit, Biden didn’t miss a beat during a photo op Tuesday with Swiss President Guy Parmelin.

“Mr. President, are you ready for tomorrow?” a reporter asked.

“I’m always ready,” Biden replied.

The meeting with the Swiss president was Biden’s final public event for the day.

When the president arrived earlier in Geneva, he was met with a long line of greeters, many dressed in colorful outfits, as he stepped off Air Force One.

The White House said Biden will hold a solo press conference after meeting with Putin, where he will give his takeaways. Putin plans to do the same.

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