No cardinal changes expected in Russia-US relations after Putin-Biden summit, says expert

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MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden will not bring about any radical changes in bilateral relations but both leaders can outline a new system of strategic stability and security, President of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Aleksandr Dynkin told TASS on Tuesday.

The Russian expert who is also a member of the Supervisory and Scientific Board of the Russian Council for International Relations talked to TASS in the run-up to the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva on June 16.

“Many journalists are inclined to expect some dramatic revolutionary events. In actual fact, I am convinced that nothing of this kind will happen,” the expert pointed out.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed a very broad agenda of the summit and also Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, the expert noted.

“We have extensive experience of relations with the United States: we have accumulated substantial human capital of knowledge and experience both in state structures and in the expert community. That is why there are no rosy expectations. As Lavrov said, Moscow is ready to talk with Washington based on the balance of interests and equality,” the expert pointed out.

Probable agenda of the summit

Without a doubt, the Russian and US presidents will pay special attention to strategic stability as the state of affairs in this sphere requires an urgent talk, the expert emphasized.

“The Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction Treaty (the New START) was ratified literally two days before the document’s expiry and so we got some respite for five years to work out a new treaty on arms reduction. This is a very complex task as there have been no negotiations for over ten years. Today there is no consensus on the subject matter of the negotiations even before the start of this difficult talk on the levels and sublevels, delivery vehicles and warheads,” the expert said.

Moscow proposes talking about both strategic nuclear and conventional armaments because in the epoch of technical progress they can develop hypersonic speeds and can be employed for a first strike, the expert remarked.

“The Americans propose that this issue should not be raised and instead the talks should focus on strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. Therefore, there is significant divergence from the very start and it is hard for me to predict what the sides will agree upon. Over a decade in the absence of arms control talks, technologies have come on leaps and bounds: precision weapons, outer space and cyberwarfare. This also relates to anti-ballistic missile defense systems and Washington’s potential deployment of land-based intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe. These are the most complex baskets of the negotiating agenda. Tremendous and difficult work will have to be carried out,” the expert said.

Some time ago, proposals were also put forward “to brush the pieces off the board and switch to discussing strategic stability issues in the regime of expert consultations instead of concluding legally binding and verifiable accords,” he said.

“I believe that the two powers capable of annihilating each other within 30 minutes cannot afford such a light-minded approach,” the expert added.

Non-proliferation tasks

The expert said he hoped that the Russian and US leaders would discuss the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under the Iran nuclear deal and the nuclear weapons non-proliferation agenda in general.

“Formally, there are five nuclear powers today but de facto there are nine of them. Several more countries, such as Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran are close to gaining this status unless this process is put on hold,” the expert explained. “That is why Moscow and Washington should give a signal that we are negotiating on this issue and will jointly counter the spread of nuclear weapons,” the expert pointed out.

Geneva summit

Both the Kremlin and the US White House earlier announced that the Putin-Biden summit would take place in Geneva on June 16. As the Russian presidential press office reported, both leaders will discuss the state and the prospects of bilateral relations, strategic stability and pressing issues of the international agenda, including interaction in the anti-coronavirus fight and the settlement of regional conflicts. This will be the first personal encounter between Putin and Biden since the US newly-elected president assumed office.