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Biden begins European visit with warning for Russia president


US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden walk through a cordon of honor guard after arriving at Cornwall Airport Newquay in Saint Mawgan, Britain, on June 9, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Upon the start of his first foreign trip since taking office, US President Joe Biden has repeated his tough rhetoric against Russia, warning Moscow of "robust and meaningful" consequences if it engages in "harmful activities".

On Wednesday, Biden arrived in the United Kingdom ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday and the start of the G7 summit on Friday.

Speaking to about 1,000 troops and their families at a British air base, Biden reiterated that he would deliver a clear message to his Russia counterpart Vladimir Putin.

"Weíre not seeking conflict with Russia," Biden said at the start of his eight-day visit to Europe.

"We want a stable and predictable relationship," he said, adding that "but Iíve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities."

The two leaders are scheduled to meet on June 16 in Geneva, after separate summits with European leaders, NATO and leaders of the Group of Seven (G7).

"Iím going to communicate [that] there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies, in the United States and Europe and elsewhere," he added.

The US president also said he will "meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know."

"At every point along the way, weíre going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future," Biden added.

In the past six years or so, the US has imposed waves of sanctions against Russia over the alleged interference in its 2016 presidential elections and the recent jailing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Relations between the White House and the Kremlin hit a new low in March after Biden said in an interview that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "killer" and that the Russian president would have to "pay a price" for interference in US elections.

The Democratic Presidentís remarks echoed those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who called Putin a "killer" in 2017, after he said he respected the Russian leader, "But heís a killer."

American journalist Max Parry had once told Press TV that Biden is "determined to do is to wipe out whatever was left of any good quality relations under the Trump administration and even under the Obama administration."

The Russian president said last week although the US is trying to hold back Russiaís development, the Kremlin needs to find ways to "regularize" deeply damaged relations with the Biden administration.

Putin described Biden as "an experienced, balanced, and careful" man who had spent his whole life in politics, expressing the hope that those qualities would have a positive effect on the upcoming negotiations - but said he was "not expecting anything that could become a breakthrough in Russia-US relations."

Chief among the issues planned to be discussed in the summit are disarmament, the coronavirus pandemic and environmental issues.

The White House said Biden will also raise US concerns directly with the Russian leader about ransomware attacks emanating from Russia and Moscow-Ukraine crisis.

The two sides are also at loggerhead over Russiaís landmark Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe. Biden, however, has waived sanctions on the project linking Russiaís natural gas fields to European consumers, allowing it to finally near completion. Former President Donald Trump had stalled the project by more than a year with sanctions.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/22932


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