US President Joe Biden is expected to discuss a wide range of issues today with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Geneva summit.
Probably the most challenging and the most critical issue could be cyber hacking, given the recent spate of ransomware attacks cutting across sectors in the United States, launched by criminal syndicates based in Russia. Biden will underscore US plans to respond to continued state-directed hacks, a senior administration official told CNN.
The other high-stakes issue on the table is election interference. The US intelligence community said in a landmark report in March that the Russian government meddled in the 2020 election with an influence campaign “denigrating” Biden and “supporting” former US President Donald Trump, detailing a massive disinformation push that successfully targeted, and was openly embraced, by Trump’s allies. Russia denies involvement, CNN’s national security correspondent Kylie Atwood adds.
The topic of Ukraine is also likely to come up as there has been a buildup of Russian troops along the border, which has reignited tensions in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled Russian-backed separatists demanding independence from Kiev since 2014. The US has supported Ukrainian sovereignty.
Biden will raise human rights, the official said, but would not specify if that will include a discussion of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
The issue of prisoner swaps is high on the agenda. Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed are two of the Americans and former US Marines detained in Russia.
Officials underscored the modest expectations for the talks, saying nuclear stability and other arms control agreements as a potential source of agreement.