Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he wants to improve Moscow’s ties with Washington when he holds his first summit with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, later this month, but set a tough tone ahead of the meeting, saying that states The United States wants to “stop” Russia. growth The face-to-face meeting scheduled for June 16 in Geneva comes amid deeply tense relations between the United States and Russia.
Tensions rise over a litany of issues, including the imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny and the conflict in Ukraine, as well as accusations of piracy and electoral meddling “We need to find ways to seek a settlement in our relations, which are at an extremely low level now,” Putin told the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Putin said disarmament, the coronavirus pandemic, and environmental issues will also be on the agenda The 68-year-old said Russia “had no problems with the United States. “But he has a problem with us: they want to slow down our development, they talk about it publicly,” he said Both Russia and the United States have downplayed expectations of any progress at the Geneva meeting.
The Kremlin has said the differences between Moscow and Washington are too deep for a major “reset” in relations, and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned earlier this week that Russia would send what he described as “uncomfortable” signals. to the United States before the summit. Ryabkov’s comments on Monday came a day after Biden said he would pressure Putin to respect human rights when the two leaders meet Since he took office in January, Biden has imposed new sanctions on Moscow for alleged election meddling and cyberattacks.
Putin said on Friday that the measures were driven by domestic political competition in the United States and were an “enigma” for Moscow Speaking on other issues, Putin announced that the laying of pipes for the first of the two lines of the future Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany has already been fully completed, leaving only welding work to finish its construction. He said the second line will follow his lead soon The Russian leader praised the project as a better economic option than an existing gas pipeline through Ukraine, rejecting Ukrainian and Western criticism that it is designed to rob Ukraine of transit fees.
Putin said Russia will continue to pump 40 billion cubic meters of gas through Ukraine a year in line with the existing five-year contract and could continue to do so after it expires if Ukraine shows “goodwill. Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in a tense tug of war following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula by Moscow in 2014 and its support for separatists in the east of the country.
The United States has strongly opposed the construction of the new Russian pipeline, but last month waived some sanctions on the project, a move Biden justified by saying the project was nearly complete and that continued sanctions could have damaged ties with Europe. The Kremlin has hailed that decision as a “positive sign” ahead of the Putin-Biden summit.
Putin also said European nations should pay for Russian gas in euros, as Moscow continues its de-dollarization efforts amid US sanctions “The euro is completely acceptable to us in terms of gas payments. This can be done, of course, and probably should be done, ”he said Putin continued to deplore what he said was Washington’s use of the dollar as an economic and political tool, saying that “its use as an instrument of competition and political struggle has undermined its role as a world reserve currency.”
Russia announced Thursday that it will completely remove the US dollar from its National Wealth Fund and convert dollar-denominated assets into euros, yuan, and gold Russia has long moved to reduce the dollar’s share of its foreign exchange reserves amid waves of sanctions imposed by the United States on the country.