First meeting of US and Russian presidents to be held on Wednesday

The first meeting between US and Russian presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will be held in Geneva on Wednesday. It is expected to last about 4-5 hours, and commentators say its goal will be to restore "at least relatively stable relations between the countries".

The meeting between the leaders of both countries will start at around 1pm. After two sessions of talks separate press conferences by the presidents are scheduled to take place.

One of the most contentious issues between the two countries is the issue of cyber attacks on American companies, attributed to the Russian side. Moscow rejects these accusations, and President Putin considers them absurd.

Joe Biden, however, intends to raise this issue and propose that the Russian authorities end cybercrime.

The inevitable difference of views will be caused by the subject of human rights, especially concerning the Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, imprisoned in a penal colony in Russia.

The presidents will also reportedly raise the issue of Ukraine, on whose side the US authorities have consistently stood since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Belarus will almost certainly be a topic for discussion between the Presidents, particularly given the recent incident involving the hijacking of a plane by the Lukashenka regime, an ally of Moscow, as well as the suppression of protests by the democratic opposition and the growing number of political prisoners in the country.

Talks will also pertain to Syria, climate issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polish hopes for the summit

The meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will be closely watched in Poland, especially with reference to the situation in Ukraine and Belarus, as well as to the potential discussion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline by the presidents.

The head of the Polish Foreign Ministry recently emphasised that the decision of the American administration to refrain from imposing sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline cannot be understood or supported by the Polish side. He noted that Nord Stream 2 divides the EU and NATO, and that the security of the region, including Ukraine and Poland, is at stake.

Polish president Andrzej Duda stressed after the recent NATO summit that Russia poses a big threat to the alliance.

“The threat posed by Russia regarding its various types of aggressive behavior is still absolutely alive,” he said, adding that “this is one of the biggest challenges that exists in the geopolitical space, particularly in our part of Europe.”