“The main reason for him [to go] is the poor state of relations between our two countries. And a critical level of this relationship which requires a summit between our two countries because it is the only way (…) to prevent a further deterioration of our dialogue, “Peskov told CNN.
Next week’s high-stakes summit in Geneva comes as relations between the two nations recently reached new lows during the first months of the Biden administration.
That is why the summit will be “a very good opportunity” to express the concerns of the two countries, Peskov said Friday.
He also accused the United States of having frozen dialogue between the two countries for the past five to seven years “in all areas, including areas vital both to our people and even to humanity,” as [the] fight against terror [attacks], with climate change, economic cooperation, cooperation in vaccines, in the pandemic … they refuse to cooperate with us in the fight against digital crime, etc.
“We have heard of such a possibility from our American counterparts, but we are still awaiting final confirmation, but from the very beginning President Putin has been open to any alternatives,” Peskov said.
Peskov added that Putin was ready to attend a joint press conference or hold one in Geneva.
However, Peskov told CNN that Putin does not plan to engage with Biden over Navalny – whom Putin never refers to by name.
When asked if Putin plans to not back down on the issue if it comes up at Wednesday’s summit, the Kremlin spokesman said: “Well, there is nothing to discuss about this. . There is nothing to discuss about this gentleman. He is in prison, and he is not on the agenda of our bilateral relations. “
A Moscow court ruled on Wednesday that two organizations linked to Navalny were “extremist” groups, forcing them to shut down and rendering their members ineligible for the next election. Both groups deny the accusation of extremism.
“We don’t think of the US-Russian summits in terms of expected outcomes,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week. “We think of it as an opportunity to communicate what our intentions and capabilities are.”
Next Wednesday’s conversation is likely to be a busy one for both leaders, with the agenda set to include cyber attacks, human rights abuses and Russia’s actions in Ukraine, according to U.S. officials.
Despite the deterioration of relations between the two countries on issues like Ukraine and election interference, Biden hopes to establish a clear channel of communication that would avoid undue surprises.
Their meeting will mark the end of Biden’s first trip abroad as US president, starting with the Group of Seven summit at a seaside resort in Cornwall, UK. After the G7 closes on Sunday, Biden heads to Brussels for the NATO summit followed by his meeting with Putin.