Washington (Associated Press)-Russia’s military build-up along the Ukrainian border will be the primary focus of talks between President Biden and Russian President Putin on Tuesday, but there are many other thorny issues on the negotiating table, including cyber attacks, the Kremlin for human rights. The spokesman said that US-Russian relations are generally in a “quite bad state.”
Fyodor Lukyanov, a well-known foreign policy expert based in Moscow, said that progress in nuclear arms control and cybersecurity since the Geneva summit will be discussed. Regional topics such as Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea may be affected. Roughly mentioned, but mainly will be about the tensions in Ukraine.
“All conversations today are conducted in the cold war style-the cold war approach means that we will not solve problems together. The only thing we can do is to ease tensions where problems grow. Ukraine and Eastern Europe-increased tensions will produce this The impact, or at least is perceived. In all other places, Russia-US tensions have not increased, so there is nothing to talk about,” Lukyanov told the Associated Press in an interview on Monday.
Both the White House and the Kremlin tried to lower their expectations for this call, and both said that they did not expect any breakthroughs in Ukraine or other issues to be discussed. But the two powers insist that this dialogue—the first time for leaders since the summer—is progress in itself.
U.S. officials said that the call is not limited to Ukraine, because other issues that are “critical” to national security also need to be discussed.
See what else is on the agenda when Putin and Biden spoke on Tuesday:
After the latest round of negotiations aimed at getting Iran to re-comply with the 2015 nuclear agreement ended in vain, the international community is faced with critical decisions in the coming months on how to respond to the country’s rapidly advancing nuclear program. Former President Donald Trump asked the United States to withdraw from the agreement, but Biden has made resuming the agreement a priority because Iran has enriched uranium to a level close to the purity required for weapons. Russia is still a party to the agreement, and the two leaders may discuss the next steps in trying to persuade Iran to comply with the agreement again.
Last month, a Russian anti-satellite missile test launched a mass of debris in low-Earth orbit, forcing astronauts on the International Space Station to evade, and NASA postponed spacewalks. The tests condemned by the United States as “recklessly conducted” have raised new concerns about the militarization of space and the prospect that such tests may pose a threat to future generations of space exploration and development. Biden’s discussions with Putin will also take place a few weeks after China is revealed to test hypersonic suborbital weapons. The White House stated that Biden will raise the importance of “strategic stability in the nuclear and space fields” during the conference call.
Two former U.S. Marines, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reid, were imprisoned in Russia on charges deemed unfair by the U.S. government. The US and Russian governments have previously stated that they are open to discussions about potential prisoner exchanges that may lead to the release of Americans, and Biden has promised to continue to raise their plight to Putin.
The United States and Russia are arguing over the staffing of each other’s diplomatic outposts for several years, but they have been negotiating for months to ease tensions. The United States closed two Russian compounds in 2016 in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the election and expelled some Russian diplomats on charges of espionage. Russia retaliated by closing US outposts and restricting the ability of the US to hire local workers in Moscow to work for its embassy. In recent months, disputes over visas for US diplomats in Russia have escalated, causing serious staffing problems.Officials said that as a “deliverable” of the call, an agreement could be reached to ease tensions
On Monday, a year since the discovery of a large-scale SolarWinds cyber-espionage campaign dating back to Russia, the security company Mandiant Hackers who claimed to be associated with Russian SVR foreign intelligence agencies continued to steal data “related to Russian interests”, with remarkable results. In the first face-to-face meeting in June, Biden urged Putin to crack down on malicious cyber actors and sanctioned some companies and individuals related to this work earlier this year. The Biden administration tried to formulate “rules of the road” for cyberspace activities, but since the June summit, there has been little progress on this issue.
Litvinova reports from Moscow.