Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin shook hands before the start of their meeting (Updated)

US and Russian Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin shook hands briefly before their meeting in Geneva. PHOTO: Reuters

The presidents of the USA and Russia Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin shook hands briefly before the beginning of their meeting in Geneva, BTA quoted AFP as saying.

The agency notes that this was initiated by Biden.

This is the first meeting between the two since the US president took office in January.

Putin said: “I hope our meeting will be productive” and thanked Biden for taking the initiative in these talks.

“It’s always better to talk in private,” he said.

The two arrived a few minutes later at the villa, where they were greeted by Swiss President Guy Parmlen, who wished them luck. However, the discussions are sharp and tense, AFP notes.

The leaders of Russia and the United States began talks in a small group in the library of the villa. Earlier, journalists were allowed in the room for protocol photos and the participants in the meeting made several comments. Then they exchanged two or three more words when the reporters were already leaving the room, TASS notes. The agency also announced a new handshake between the presidents – after they entered the building.

In addition to Putin and Biden, the library includes Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkon, as well as translators.

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