As the Biden-Putin submit in Geneva nears, allies in Central and Eastern Europe grow anxious. Allies worry about what’s to come after the meeting between the two superpowers. They are wary of the recent actions from the Kremlin they deem as hostile intentions.
These European nations, once part of the Soviet Union in the Cold War worry about the submit. They fear it could result in the Biden Administration scaling down support to have better relations with Russia.
However, both the U.S. and Russia have low expectations for the meeting on June 16th. They do not expect any breakthroughs during the worst tension between the two nations since the Soviet era. The stress stems from Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. As well as speculation of Russian interference with U.S. elections and the bombardment of hacking attacks.
Witold Rodkiewicz, chief specialist on Russian politics at Warsaw’s Center of Eastern Studies, noted the U.S.’s decision to waive sanctions stopping the German company supervising the Russian project Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. This pipeline would run under the Baltic Sea connecting Russia to Germany.
Russia could potentially bypass transit fees on energy from Ukraine and other Eastern and Central European countries if the Nord Stream 2 project completes.
“In a clear, unequivocal way, the administration signaled that for them, Europe is Germany basically, and German interests are going to be taken into account, while the interests of other players in Europe are going to be sort of put on the back burner,” said Wiltold Rodkiewicz.
Most of the concern coming out of Europe for the Biden-Putin submit is from Ukraine. They have been in a tug-of-war with Russia since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. This was the result of the exile of Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president in 2014. As well as a separatist insurgency supported by Russia, killing more than 14,000.
“Ukraine fears that agreements between Biden and Putin could turn it into a peripheral country,” said Vadim Karasev, an independent Kyiv-based political analyst.