President Joe Biden on Wednesday told Russia that it would face “robust and meaningful” consequences if Moscow engaged in “harmful activities.”
The story: Biden on Wednesday embarked on his first overseas trip as president, which is expected to last for eight days. At the end of his visit to Europe, the president is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The White House has indicated that Biden plans to cover a “full range of pressing issues” with the Russian president, including Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine, the recent cyber hacking activities that are believed to stem from Russia, the jailing of Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, as well as climate change and arms control.
At the RAF Mildenhall airbase in Suffolk, U.K., where he arrived on Wednesday, Biden spoke to the U.S. troops and families before he went to Cornwall. During his speech, he mentioned Russia and discussed his intentions for the trip.
What he said: Biden said that he wants to establish a relationship with Russia but that the U.S. will respond accordingly if Moscow does not play by the rules.
“We’re not seeking conflict with Russia,” the president said, according to Reuters. “We want a stable and predictable relationship … but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”
“This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I’m heading to the G-7, then the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” Biden said. “At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future.”
Meanwhile, Biden is expected to attend a G7 leaders’ summit, scheduled for 11–13 June, meet the Queen at Windsor Castle, and join his first Nato summit, which is set to take place on 14 June, as president.
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