The first summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, ended in Geneva, Switzerland.
This summit, the first between the two presidents since Biden took office, came at a time when the two sides described the two countries’ relations as at their worst.
In a press conference after the conclusion of the summit, the Russian President described the talks in which he was very constructive and fruitful, and said that he had agreed with President Biden on the return of the ambassadors of the two countries to their positions.
The issues addressed by the two sides included armaments, sanctions, US allegations of Russian cyber attacks, and allegations of Russian interference in US elections.
The summit started around 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT).
This comes at the end of Biden’s first foreign trip as president of the United States, after he also participated in meetings with the leaders of the Group of Seven and NATO.
Biden had confirmed before the Geneva summit that he had the support of his Western partners.
The summit was held in a villa overlooking Lake Geneva.
The choice of Geneva as the meeting place dates back to the summit of the Cold War between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985.
However, there is little chance that Wednesday’s summit will match the previous one, either for personal outreach or thawing political deadlock, BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainford reports.
Yury Ushakov, Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, said during a press conference in Moscow that relations between the United States and Russia had “reached a dead end”, and there was no reason for “much” optimism.
There is currently no US ambassador to Russia or vice versa, and Russia recently included the United States on its official list of “unfriendly countries”.
Despite this, Putin told state television that there were “issues on which we could cooperate”, starting with new talks on limiting nuclear weapons, discussing regional conflicts including Syria and Libya, and climate change.
He said: “If we can put in place mechanisms to work on these issues, then I think it will be possible to declare that the summit was not in vain.”
The United States sent similar messages.
A senior official told reporters that they “do not expect to achieve much in this meeting.”
However, Biden said it is an important step if the two countries can eventually find “stability and predictability” in their relations.
He added that he hopes to work with Putin in areas where cooperation is in the interests of both countries.
Before the talks, the US president described the Russian president as a “respectful opponent”, after he had previously described him as a “murderer”.