The Nation Security Council’s Senior Director for Russia, Eric Green, laid out the planned agenda for the Biden-Putin summit earlier this month, emphasizing that the main goal for the meeting is to establish “very clear lines of communication” with Russia “starting at the presidential level.”
Green said the agenda “will cover the waterfront,” to include future arms control arrangements, the recent ransomware attacks that the US believes have been carried out by criminal groups in Russia, climate change, and the Kremlin-imposed restrictions on the US diplomatic presence in Russia.
Biden and his aides will also “be advocating on behalf of” the American citizens currently detained by Russia, Green said, and will reaffirm the US commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty. The White House also wants to discuss areas of mutual interest in Iran, North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan and the Arctic, Green said.
“We are not interested in a reset nor do we want escalation with Russia,” Green said, adding that “this is a much different Russia” than it was back in the era of the Barack Obama-led reset in 2009.
But Green said the administration also recognizes that some things have not changed since 2009, specifically the fact that Russia still has one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals. The country is also still a permanent member of the UN Security Council, “which means, whether we like it or not, we have to work with them on certain core challenges out there in the world,” Green said.
“But we have no illusions about what is happening inside Russia and we don’t see a lot of opportunities for real constructive engagement in a lot of areas,” he added.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Natasha Bertrand, Arlette Saenz and Betsy Klein contributed reporting to this post.