Secretary of State Antony Blinken is bringing more tough talk in advance of the U.S.-Russia meeting June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland.
During an interview with Axios on Sunday, Blinken said President Joe Biden will address the recent cyberattacks on U.S. soil and will warn Russian president Vladimir Putin that continued aggressive acts could be met with U.S. retaliation.
“We would prefer to have a more stable, predictable relationship with Russia,” Blinken told Axios. “We’ve made that clear. But we’ve made equally clear that if Russia chooses to act aggressively or recklessly toward us or toward our allies and partners, we’ll respond.”
Blinken also acknowledged the primary purpose of the meeting is to ease tensions and establish a “more stable relationship” between the two countries.
“I can’t tell you whether I’m optimistic or not about the results,” Blinken said. “I don’t think we’re going to know after one meeting, but we’ll have some indications.”
This will be the first meeting between Biden and Putin since Biden became president.
Russian hackers conducted two recent ransomware attacks on the U.S. — on Colonial Pipeline in May and JBS Foods last week.
This won’t be the first time the U.S. has brought up the issue with Russia, according to Blinken.
“When it comes to these ransomware attacks, of course, we’ve already talked to the Russians about this,” he said. “One of the things we’re seeing is that criminal enterprises seem to be engaged in these attacks.
“And it is an obligation on the part of any country, including Russia, if it has a criminal enterprise acting from its territory against anyone else, to do what’s necessary to stop it, to bring it to justice.”
Biden has referenced Russian indiscretions including its interference in American elections and its treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.