CNN anchor Jim Sciutto gushed over President Biden’s handshake with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the two world leaders headed into their first face-to-face meeting in Geneva Wednesday morning.
The network’s chief national security correspondent waxed poetic about Biden’s demeanor during the greeting, saying moments like these are about “how you project strength.”
“You know, these moments are about moments, and I’ll tell you one moment I noticed there in the Biden-Putin interaction,” Sciutto began.
“The handshake – Biden looked Putin in the eye with a smile. Putin looked away,” Sciutto said. “Again, you don’t want to read too much or too little, but again, these are about public posturing, it’s about how you project strength, and that was a notable moment to me, as you watch them shake hands.”
CNN’s @jimsciutto gushes over Biden shaking hands w/ Putin: "The handshake, Biden looked in the eye of Putin with a smile and Putin looked away … These [moments] are about public posturing and about how you project strength." pic.twitter.com/hzBrLEuF0Y
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 16, 2021
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer added that it was a “significant handshake” between the two world leaders.
Biden and Putin spent at least two hours together during an initial, smaller meeting Wednesday morning that included their chief diplomats, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Afterward, they held a larger meeting, which was set to include Biden’s national security advisor, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, and several others.
In a video clip showing the two presidents heading inside to their meeting in the Swiss city’s Villa la Grange, a member of the press is heard shouting, “How will you pressure Putin today?”
“I think it’s always better to meet face to face, try to determine where we have mutual interest, cooperate,” Biden said in opening remarks in front of the press before the media was pushed out of the room.
“I know you’ve been on a long journey and have a lot of work,” Putin said. “Still the U.S. and Russia and U.S. relations have a lot of issues accumulated that require the highest-level meeting and I hope that our meeting will be productive.”
Biden and Putin will host separate press conferences, a change from the 2018 Helsinki summit, where former President Trump joined the Russian head of state for a joint press conference.
Days ahead of the summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that NATO leaders had “confirmed” that Ukraine would become a new member of NATO.
However, on Monday, Biden denied Zelensky’s claim.
“It depends on whether they meet the criteria. The fact is, they still have to clean up corruption. The fact is, they have to meet other criteria to get into the action plan. And so it’s, you know, school’s out on that question. It remains to be seen,” Biden said.
Biden’s summit with Putin comes after Biden attended the Group of 7 summit last week in Carbis Bay, Biden’s first foreign trip as president.
Biden convened in person for the first time with seven of the world’s most powerful government heads, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, which make up about half of the global economy.