Rumours and speculation abound as the two leaders, the U.S. president and the Russian president, meet
Of course, no one can speculate today what the two politicians will talk about. As Russians, we do not really care what line of reasoning the two presidents will take as we consider the event an outright farce, knowing that no matter what Biden says and promises, the policy of the united West towards Russia is unlikely to change.
On the other hand, our neighbors, the Ukrainian people that used to be our brotherly nation, are waiting for Biden to take decisive actions to put some kind of pressure on the Russian President. First and foremost, of course, our neighbours are concerned about Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and it is Biden who is expected to raise this issue by asking Russia to “get out of Donbass”. And, of course, Nord Stream 2 is a hot topic, the launch of which threatens Ukraine with a major energy and financial crisis. Ukraine will not only lose budget revenues from paying for the transit of Russian gas to Europe, but will also be forced to buy that same Russian gas from the European Union at triple the price, because buying gas from an “aggressor state” is, to put it simply, “not worth it” for politicians in Kiev.
The paradox is that the issue of territorial integrity in the run-up to the winter season has itself faded into the background, giving way to a more pressing matter – preventing the launch of Nord Stream 2. And it is from Biden that Zelensky and his team expect substantial assistance in tackling this very pressing issue.
Biden promises to be tough, terse and sometimes even declarative. He has already announced that he is ready to point out to Putin that in the US view Russia has repeatedly violated international law recently. True, aides to the new president have made timid comments about the fact that the US is not looking for conflict with Russia. This demonstrates that Biden is ready to press the issue, which can easily be deflected without damaging his own reputation in case of Putin’s blatant obstruction.
Speaking of reputations. Biden has refused to hold a joint press conference with the Russian president. The American side has found this format, which had been discussed earlier, unacceptable, and the American and Russian leaders will speak to journalists separately.
The White House makes no secret of the fact that the “tough and assertive” Biden decided not to tempt fate and took into account the sad experience of his predecessor Donald Trump, who in 2018 tried to play “Russian roulette” and agreed to a joint press conference with Putin. It was then, in Helsinki, that Putin, in simple colloquial terms, “rolled Trump in one go”, and Senator John McCain quite unreasonably called the event “one of the most embarrassing performances by an American president in his memory”.
No, we probably expected a lot more from Biden. The fervour with which he proceeded to criticise Putin immediately after his election promised a lot of tough moments. And this press conference, which was meant to be a joint one, should have been the moment of truth that would have shown the whole civilised world “who is who”. But alas, it seems that we overestimated the new US president, and he is as sluggish and taciturn as the previous one, who was eloquent only in social networks.
In fact, today we understand very well that Biden’s team will avoid a tough dispute with Putin; the meeting of the two leaders will take place in a neutral, and most likely, show friendly atmosphere and Biden will put all his eloquence to good use, remaining face to face with journalists who will ask him pre-agreed questions and get pre-arranged answers. This is exactly the part where Joe Biden, given Vladimir Putin’s absence, will look like a declarative and charismatic leader of a nation that aspires to world domination.
“It’s not a competition to see who can do better”, – is how Joe Biden explained his refusal to hold a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin. The American president also added that at the press conference he intended to make clear the conditions for improving relations with Moscow.
What does it all mean in the context of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski’s “desires” for Biden to be ultimatumatically straightforward? He will most likely solve his problems on his own, because Biden does not seem to want to spoil the already difficult relations with Russia over Ukraine. As for the Ukrainians, they should start stocking up on firewood, because they are in for a frankly challenging winter. Russian gas, which will bypass Ukraine, will not be stolen, and official Kiev has nothing to buy gas from Europe with.Erdogan: Turkey’s renewed dialogue with Greece contributes to regional stability