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Putin, Biden to discuss almost all issues that concern Russia, US — Kremlin aide

According to the Russian presidential aide, a common understanding of the meeting’s format was reached rather quickly but through some disagreements and inconsistencies
Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the United States will discuss almost all problems that concern both Moscow and Washington at a meeting in Geneva on June 16, including unresolved bilateral issues, strategic stability, and regional conflicts, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters.

"Almost all issues that concern both the United States and us are put on the final version [of the agenda]," he pointed out. They particularly include "the current situation in Russia-US relations and their future prospects, major strategic stability and cybersecurity issues," Ushakov said, adding: "Clearly, specific bilateral issues that require solutions will also be discussed."

In addition, "issues related to economic cooperation, climate, the Arctic and the fight against the coronavirus pandemic" will also be touched upon. The Russian presidential aide specified that the issues were expected to be discussed in that order though the presidents "can fully change [the agenda] and start discussing some other matter."

"For dessert, there will be regional issues, including the situation in the Middle East, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Nagorno-Karabakh, on the Korean Peninsula and around the Iran nuclear deal. And clearly, Ukraine, too. Other issues may also be raised, the presidents may bring up any topic they choose, no one can be denied the right to do that, and discussions will also cover issues that haven’t been agreed in advance and aren’t included in the agenda," Ushakov said. He emphasized that the Russian delegation included Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak. "This suggests that Ukraine and Syria will be among the issues that the presidents will touch upon," Ushakov noted.

According to the Russian presidential aide, the parties "worked hard" to develop the summit’s agenda. "There naturally were some disagreements and inconsistencies, but we reached a common understanding of the meeting’s format rather quickly, as well as of the issues that will be discussed. It is the easiest part to agree on the agenda and on who will be present. Everything else is far more complicated," the Kremlin aide stressed.

When asked if the situation around blogger Alexey Navalny could be discussed at the summit, Ushakov reiterated: "The presidents can raise any issue." "We do understand that the United States will probably raise this topic. There have been many signals in this regard, including from the United Kingdom and Brussels. They will definitely bring it up," the Russian presidential aide said. He answered in the same manner to the question if the situation in Belarus would be discussed. "Again, I don’t rule out that the Americans will touch upon this issue, particularly because they have discussed all this with NATO and the EU," the Kremlin aide noted.

According to Ushakov, there are a lot of bilateral issues, "which particularly concern the activities of the two countries diplomatic missions and other things… including the fact that the Americans seize our [citizens] all over the world." "Since 2014, the Americans have imposed a lot of sanctions and taken various unjustified steps in terms of the activities of diplomatic missions," the Kremlin aide said.

On September 2, 2017, the US administration closed the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the Russian trade mission in Washington, and its branch in New York as part of sanctions on Russia. The consulate and trade mission are Russia’s state property and have diplomatic immunity. on March 26, 2018, Washington announced closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.