Washington : White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday that US President Joe Biden has “every intention” to raise the issue of human rights in Russia during the meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week.
Earlier on Friday, CNN quoted Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying that Putin has no plans to engage with Biden on the issue concerning jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
“It may not be on his agenda. And that’s not a surprise. But certainly the President has every intention to raise human rights abuses, the jailing of dissidents and activists which is a violation of what we feel should be norms around the world,” Psaki said in an interview with CNN.
However, Psaki said Biden hold back in raising issues of concern and will be straightforward and direct with Putin.
“That’s the benefit of meeting in person. That’s different than a phone call,” she added.
Navalny was arrested in January upon his arrival in Russia from Germany, where he received medical treatment for an alleged poisoning. A court rescinded his suspended sentence in the 2014 Yves Rocher fraud case over multiple probation breaches and sentenced Navalny to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Psaki also said that Biden will not hesitate to discuss other “thorny” issues like the ransomware attacks attributed to Russian-based hackers and what she described as the incursion on the border of Ukraine.
“This is an opportunity to discuss all of these issues, but also where we can work together. Nuclear stability, negotiations with Iran – those are issues where we see an opportunity and a forum of working together,” she added.