U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a solo news conference after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week, denying the former KGB spy an elevated international platform to castigate the West and sow discord.
Putin’s bravura performance at a 2018 news conference with Donald Trump led to shock when the then U.S. president cast doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and flattered the Russian leader.
Talking about the summit alone will also spare Biden, 78, from open jousting with Putin, 68, before the world’s media after what is certain to be a combative encounter.
“We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward,” a White House official said.
“A solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns.”
Biden will meet Putin on June 16 in Geneva for a summit that will cover strategic nuclear stability and the deteriorating relationship between the Kremlin and the West.