By Jason Hoffman, CNN
President Joe Biden said on Sunday that he will discuss human rights abuses with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet in Switzerland next month.
“I will meet with President Putin in a couple of weeks in Geneva, making it clear that we will not do that; we will not stand by and let him abuse these rights,” Biden said in remarks in honor of Memorial Day. during which he pointed out the United States was based on the ideal that all men and all women are equal and said that the US has an obligation to demonstrate when it sees human rights abuses.
The White House said last week that the first face-to-face meeting between Biden and Putin will take place in Geneva on June 16, with the two leaders planning to discuss a number of issues as the United States aims to improve relations with Russia. . Biden has previously met with Putin during his time as vice president, including a 2011 meeting during which Biden said he looked into Putin’s eyes and declared, “I don’t think you have a soul.”
Despite deteriorating relations between the two countries over issues such as Ukraine and electoral interference, Biden hopes to establish a clear channel of communication that avoids undue surprises.
In April, the Biden administration ruled Russia with general sanctions and diplomatic expulsions, in part for the country’s “grave human rights abuses” in Crimea.
The president also said he raised human rights abuses in a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“I had a long conversation, two hours ago, with President Xi, who made it clear to us that we could do nothing but protest for human rights around the world because that’s how we are,” Biden said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this month at a meeting during which the top US diplomat was also expected to discuss the abuses. of human rights, according to three sources.
Blinken also directly raised a number of aggressive Russian activities, such as the Solar Winds pirate running private companies and governments, Moscow’s electoral interference, the unjustified detention of American citizens in Russia, the arrest of the activist from the opposition Alexey Navalny and the expulsion of others. diplomats, according to sources.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Chandelis Duster, Betsy Klein, Kylie Atwood and Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.