US president Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started talks in Geneva on Wednesday at a summit aimed toward arresting a fast decline in relations between two international locations beset by mutual mistrust.

The assembly began at about 1.30pm native time with a handshake between the 2 leaders on the 18th-century Villa La Grange by Lake Geneva. Talks are anticipated to final so long as 5 hours, aides beforehand stated.

Exchanging curt remarks within the presence of the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and Russia’s international minister, Sergei Lavrov, Putin thanked Biden for proposing the in-person assembly.

“Russian-US relations have collected numerous questions that require motion on the highest degree,” the Russian chief stated. “I hope that our assembly will probably be productive.”

Biden replied: “As I stated outdoors, it’s at all times higher to fulfill face-to-face to attempt to decide the place we have now mutual curiosity; co-operate, and the place we don’t, set up predictable and rational” relations. He added: “Two nice powers.”

Of their first face-to-face encounter as leaders, Biden and Putin will grapple with accusations, complaints and prices towards each other, together with alleged Russian cyber attacks and election meddling, US sanctions towards Moscow and the Kremlin’s misgivings over Nato army enlargement in jap Europe.

Different irritants within the relationship are torn-up arms management agreements, war in Ukraine and Moscow’s jailing of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, leaving few apparent areas of co-operation.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken, US president Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov
From left: US secretary of state Antony Blinken, Biden, Putin and Russian international minister Sergei Lavrov at Villa La Grange © Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

Biden has described Putin as a “worthy adversary” forward of the assembly and stated he was going to make clear to the Russian chief “what the crimson traces are”. Russia was looking for to drive a wedge in transatlantic solidarity and the US was experiencing a rise in malicious cyber exercise, he added.

“I’m going to clarify to President Putin that there are areas the place we are able to co-operate, if he chooses,” Biden stated on Monday in Brussels. “And if he chooses to not co-operate and acts in a manner that he has prior to now, relative to cyber safety and another actions, then we are going to reply. We’ll reply in variety.”

Biden travelled to the Swiss metropolis after per week in Europe meeting G7, EU and Nato allies. The response to threats posed by Russia was regularly raised in talks with western leaders. The EU warned in a international coverage paper on Wednesday of a “negative spiral” in EU-Russian relations.

The US president stated world leaders had thanked him for holding the summit, which some analysts have criticised as handing Putin a diplomatic victory.

Moscow has sought to minimize expectations of any main breakthroughs on the talks. Analysts on each side prompt that by merely happening, the assembly may no less than mark a post-cold conflict nadir within the bilateral relationship.

Putin’s international affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov described relations between Moscow and Washington as “dire”. “I feel that each side perceive that it’s time to begin tackling this backlog that has piled up,” he instructed Russian information companies.

The White Home and the Kremlin have each stated they’ll deal with arms management, cyber safety and local weather change. The US desires to debate human rights, co-operation on Iran and Afghanistan and Washington’s help for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the place Russia massed 100,000 troops earlier this 12 months.

Kremlin officers stated the talks would additionally function a potential exchange of residents held in every others’ prisons.

Ambassadors posted to each international locations left earlier within the 12 months after a series of occasions prompted by Biden agreeing with an interviewer that Putin was a “killer”. Each ambassadors are anticipated to return to their posts in Moscow and Washington following the summit, in response to three folks acquainted with the plans.

Whereas he has acceded to Russian requests over diplomatic choreography following the assembly — which could counsel a thaw in relations — Biden will conduct a solo press convention fairly than make a joint look with Putin.

In 2018, Donald Trump gave a joint press convention with Putin during which the US chief appeared to facet together with his Russian counterpart over his personal intelligence neighborhood.