EU, U.S. to Coordinate Russia Policy With High-Level Discussions

The U.S. and the European Union plan to launch a framework next week to harmonize policy on Russia, a country that’s drawn increasing western criticism for flouting international norms and a deteriorating record on human rights.

At a June 15 meeting in Brussels, President Joe Biden and the EU’s 27 leaders will say that “to coordinate our policies and actions we will establish an EU-U.S. high-level dialogue on Russia,” according to a draft of the summit conclusions seen by Bloomberg.

Biden will attend the EU-U.S. summit right after this weekend’s Group of Seven meeting and a gathering of leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. After that, Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Tensions have deepened between Russia and the west after the EU, the U.S. and the U.K. all announced sanctions on Moscow earlier this year to punish the Kremlin over the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Biden has said he will treat Putin as more of an adversary than his predecessor, Donald Trump, did.

Sanctions Cooperation

Earlier this week, European Council President Charles Michel told Bloomberg and a small group of other news outlets that the Brussels summit would be an opportunity for the two sides to coordinate and exchange views ahead of Biden’s meeting with Putin.

The draft statement, which could change before next week’s meeting, also says that the U.S. and the EU stand united in their “principled approach toward Russia and we are ready to respond decisively to its repeating pattern of negative behavior and harmful activities.”

The EU and U.S. will also commit to working together on a range of threats often emanating from Russia, from cyber attacks and criminal ransom ware networks to disinformation. At the same time, they will stress that channels of communication remain open with Moscow around areas of cooperation that are in the interests of both sides.

Biden and European leaders are also expected to say that they intend to enhance cooperation on the use of sanctions, according to the draft.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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