Russian, US leaders discuss cybersecurity, Navalny, Central-Eastern Europe

The presidents of the USA and Russia: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss bilateral ties, as well as several boiling issues, such as Ukraine, Belarus, cybersecurity and Alexei Navalny.

Both leaders spoke to the media separately.

Biden: Hacking attacks diminish Russia’s credibility

“The consequences of the death of the imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny would be catastrophic,” stated Joe Biden, adding that the matter of human rights will always be on the table in talks with Russia.

The American leader said he told Vladimir Putin that the US gave "unquestionable" support to Ukraine's sovereignty. Mr Biden also assessed that Russia itself is adversely affected by its loss of credibility, for example, related to responsibility for hacking attacks in the US.

He went on to say that he had agreed with Mr Putin to start a bilateral “strategic dialogue,” that is, to develop a mechanism to control the production of dangerous new weapons to “prevent unwanted conflict.”

Referring to the issue of cybersecurity, Joe Biden added that he gave the Russian president a list of 16 entities belonging to “critical infrastructure” that must be “free from all attacks.”

Putin: Navalny deliberately broke law

Commenting on the issue of the Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny at a press conference, the Russian president stated that the opposition activist had deliberately broken the law.

“This gentleman went abroad for treatment, ignored the summons and, knowing that he was wanted, returned to the country,” he announced.

In terms of Ukraine, Mr Putin said that he understood President Biden agrees with him that the Minsk agreements should be respected. The Russian leader claimed that Ukraine was making proposals “completely opposite to these agreements.”

When asked about Mr Biden’s statement in which the US president called him “a murderer,” Vladimir Putin belittled this accusation, stating that “people are being killed every day on the streets of the US.”

No breakthrough expected after Geneva meeting: Polish MFA

In the opinion of Marcin Przydacz, the deputy Polish Foreign Minister, the meeting in Geneva was not a harbinger of a breakthrough in relations between the two countries. At the same time, he stated that any attempts to build dialogue with Russia, “aimed at persuading it to return to a peaceful policy, resigning from resorting to aggression and territorial annexations,” are in general welcomed by Poland.

“Understandably, we still have to wait for detailed information and comments. We will consult the outcome of this meeting directly with American partners, as well as with NATO and EU allies,” he added.

“Dialogue is the essence of diplomacy and its basic tool. The US is our primary ally. President Biden was personally committed to overthrowing the ‘Yalta order’ of the world, he is fully aware of the threats posed by Russia, which he expressed in his speech at the NATO summit two days ago,” Mr Przydacz pointed out.

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