Finland’s presidential palace confirmed on the 16th that it intends to invite U.S. President Joseph Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet in Finland. The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed similar wishes on the same day.
The recent deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations has raised concerns about whether the two heads of state can meet. Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on the 16th that Russia is considering how to respond to the U.S. government announced the day before the new round of sanctions, it will take time to analyze the U.S. proposal.
Other countries are willing to set up a platform.
A spokesman for the Finnish presidential palace confirmed to AFP on the 16th that Finnish President Shoali Niinisto proposed to the United States and Russia to hold a meeting of heads of state in Finland. “In connection with this possible meeting, we have explained to the U.S. and Russian governments Finland’s willingness to provide a venue for the meeting.”
The Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement the same day that the Austrian side proposed to hold a meeting of U.S. and Russian heads of state, the U.S. and Russia “know that we intend” to facilitate the meeting, “whether the meeting is held, when and where to hold it is up to the U.S. and Russia.”
Putin meets with then-U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, in July 2018.
Biden spoke by phone with Putin on the 13th of this month to discuss the development of U.S.-Russian relations, during which he proposed to meet with Putin in a third country to discuss bilateral relations.
Russia is still thinking about it.
After the U.S. government announced sanctions against a number of Russian entities and expelled several Russian diplomats, the White House confirmed that the invitation to meet with U.S. and Russian heads of state “remains valid”, but in Russia’s view, the U.S. move is not conducive to the summit prospects.
Peskov said on the 16th that Putin needs time to analyze Biden’s proposal to meet the two men, “Biden put forward a series of proposals, the proposal to meet with Putin’s previous proposal has a lot of coincide. Of course, Putin needs some time to analyze the proposal.”
Relations between Russia and the United States have been strained recently. Russia recalled its ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, after U.S. intelligence agencies in March accused Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and launching cyberattacks on the U.S., and Biden’s negative comments about Putin. The U.S. government has recently frequently expressed concern about Russia’s build-up of troops along Russia’s border with Ukraine. Russia responded that the troops were aimed at securing Russia’s borders, but some Western countries have used them as an “excuse” to identify Russia as causing the situation in eastern Ukraine to heat up.
Russian Brewing Response
Asked by a media reporter how Russia will respond to the latest U.S. sanctions, Peskov said on the 16th that it is “customary” to counter the principle of reciprocity, Putin will decide how to respond.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov summoned U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan to inform the other side that the latest U.S. sanctions “hit relations between the two countries” and Russia will take a series of response measures in the near future, Russian satellite news agency reported Thursday.
The media also said that Russia’s ambassador to the United States Antonov 16 to the Russian Foreign Ministry to attend the meeting.
Peskov said Putin will decide when Antonov returns to Washington.