Biden Warns Putin on Hostility Toward Democracy Before Summit

President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of U.S. retribution if he menaces other democracies, ahead of the first meeting between the two leaders in Geneva next week.

“We’re not seeking conflict with Russia -- we want a stable, predictable relationship,” Biden told U.S. service members Wednesday at the Royal Air Force’s Mildenhall base in the U.K., after arriving for a Group of Seven summit this weekend.

Biden Warns Putin on Hostility Toward Democracy Before Summit

“But I have been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities,” he continued, to applause and cheers from his audience. “We’ve already demonstrated that. We are going to communicate that there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracy in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.”

Biden’s June 16 summit with Putin is expected to be tense, as the two leaders hash out disputes over election interference, Ukraine, cybersecurity, Belarus, U.S. sanctions and other issues.

The U.S. president said he deliberately scheduled the meeting to follow the G-7 summit, as well as meetings with NATO and EU leaders.

“And only after these meetings with our closest democratic partners to develop a common agenda and renewed purpose, I’ll travel to Geneva to sit down with a man I’ve spent time with before -- President Vladimir Putin,” Biden said.

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