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President Biden will urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights when they meet at next month’s Geneva summit.
The commander-in-chief made the revelation while delivering remarks to commemorate Memorial Day weekend on Sunday in his home state of Delaware, explaining that he offered a similar message to Chinese President Xi Jinping when they spoke.
“I had a long conversation for two hours recently with President Xi, making it clear to him we could do nothing but speak out for human rights around the world because that’s who we are,” Biden began.
“I’ll be meeting with President Putin in a couple weeks in Geneva making it clear that we will not, we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights.”
Biden and Putin will meet on June 16 in Switzerland, after Biden makes stops in England for the annual G7 summit and in Belgium for a NATO conference. It will mark their first face-to-face summit since Biden took office.
When announcing the meeting, the White House said that the two leaders would “discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship.”
Speculation surrounding the meeting comes as Putin maintains his support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who forced down a commercial passenger jet in his country’s airspace last week to detain dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich.
The US has thus far imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials.
Moscow has continued to flex its military muscle in Ukraine and in the Black Sea in recent months — alongside its warning to the US to back off, which caused President Biden to turn two US warships around in April that were headed there.
Biden declared a national emergency that month, slapping sanctions on more than three dozen people in Russia and expelling 10 diplomats.
Putin subsequently closed off the Kerch Strait to foreign warships until next fall.
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