As the White House announced on Wednesday morning (local time), US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet in Geneva on June 16. A short time later, the Kremlin also confirmed that the UN city in western Switzerland was the site of the summit.
Biden spokeswoman Jane Psaki said the summit should address “a whole range of issues” in bilateral relations. Biden, who will travel to Europe in June, proposed holding a summit with Putin in a third country in April amid tense relations. Austria then offered itself offensively as a potential summit site. Counselor Sebastian Curtis (ÖVP) also contacted Kremlin President Putin for this.
Helsinki had the opportunity to attend the last US-Russia summit in 2018. At the time, Moscow was said to have preferred Austria as the location for Putin’s first meeting with then-US President Donald Trump. After there was initial support from the then president of the United States, this idea failed due to resistance from Trump’s top advisers and Helsinki was chosen as the venue, Bolton wrote in his unveiled book, The Room In Which It Happened: The White House Diary, published in 2020.
Helsinki displayed itself as a place again this time, but observers gave the Finnish capital little chance after Putin introduced the US president there. The media speculated that Austria, Switzerland or the “Russia-friendly” NATO country could be chosen. The US Chargé d’Affairs to Vienna, Robin Denegan, kept out of the limelight two weeks ago in an interview with the AP when asked about Vienna’s opportunities. “But I will say this often: Austria has been an incredibly gracious and courteous host of international negotiations for decades, and we appreciate Austria’s hospitality,” Denegan said.