President Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin will not hold a joint news conference after the two leaders meet in Geneva next week, a White House official said.
While the meeting format is still being finalized, the official told reporters traveling with Biden at the G-7, that the President will hold a solo press conference after the Putin meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
“We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward, and 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,” the official told reporters.
The meeting, which the official said will include a working session and a smaller session, will come toward the end of Biden’s first trip abroad as president.
His move for a solo presser is a pivot away from his predecessor’s decision in 2018 to conduct a joint press conference with Putin at the Helsinki summit. Former President Donald Trump at the time appeared to accept Putin’s denial of Russian meddling in U.S. elections. His apparent unwillingness to challenge Putin on the accusations came in spite of concerns raised by his own intelligence aides at the time.
Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian news agency TASS on Saturday that the Russian leader will speak to Kremlin pool reporters and other media outlets after the meeting.
In April, Biden announced sanctions against Russia as among the steps his administration would take in the nation’s long-awaited response to the SolarWinds hack that breached American government agencies and the nation’s largest companies and Russia’s election interference.
The administration also warned Moscow over a CIA assessment reported by The New York Times last summer that suggested Russia offered to pay bounties to militants in Afghanistan to kill American troops.