The White House says U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a "solo press conference" after his summit in Geneva next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the latest indicator of the tensions swirling between Moscow and Washington.
An unnamed administration official said Biden appearing alone was "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," according to Reuters.
The go-it-alone tactic highlights the U.S. administration's desire to challenge Kremlin talking points and to avoid appearing overly cozy with the Russian leader, whom Biden has suggested is "a killer" out to undermine international security and permanently silence his domestic critics.
It is also a stark contrast to the scene after Putin met with Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, in Helsinki in 2018.
After those closed-door talks, Trump emerged at a joint press conference defending Russia over U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Biden is in Cornwall on the southern U.K. coast for a summit with other Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nation leaders this weekend that will include talks on Russia and China, then goes to Brussels for meetings with European Union and NATO officials.
"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward," the unnamed White House official said of the U.S.-Russia summit on the shores of Lake Geneva on June 16.
While challenging Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, alleged meddling in elections, and cyberattacks emanating from Russia, Biden has said the United States wants a "stable, predictable" relationship with Russia that allows the two countries to work together on common issues like strategic stability, arms control, and climate change.
Putin said in a wide-ranging interview with NBC broadcast on June 11 that the U.S.-Russia relationship had "deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years."