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Joe Biden warns Russia against ‘harmful activities’ at the start of his first official trip

Under the Trump administration, Joe Biden made clear his intention to strengthen ties with US allies, following strained relations. President Biden arrived in the UK on Wednesday where he met PM Boris Johnson to agree on a new “Atlantic Charter”. The pact will be a modern version of the one agreed between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, with a focus on challenges including climate change and security.

The two are aiming to refresh a vital relationship, after the turbulence of the Trump years and the pressures of the pandemic. During a packed eight-day European visit Joe Biden will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle, attend a G7 leaders’ meeting, and join his first Nato summit as president. At the end of his trip, he is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

The White House has indicated that he intends to cover a “full range of pressing issues” with his Russian counterpart, including arms control, climate change, Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Russia’s cyber-hacking activities, and the jailing of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

Before traveling on to Cornwall, Joe Biden said he would deliver a clear message to Vladimir Putin, and also that they are not seeking conflict with Russia and want a stable and predictable relationship. “The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”

Ties between Washington and Moscow are at a low point over a variety of issues. In April, Vladimir Putin accused Western powers of trying to “pick on” Russia and warned them not to cross a “red line”.

During his first overseas trip as president, he wanted to make it clear that “the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to their future”.



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