US-Russia relations at 'impasse' ahead of summit: Kremlin

Putin and Biden are to meet at a villa in Geneva on Wednesday with tensions high over a long list of disputes, from cyberattacks and election meddling to human rights violations.

Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on 7 May 2018 after being re-elected as president. Picture: AFP

MOSCOW - A top aide to Vladimir Putin said US-Russia relations are at an "impasse" but this week's summit with Joe Biden in Switzerland could help ease tensions.

Putin and Biden are to meet at a villa in Geneva on Wednesday with tensions high over a long list of disputes, from cyberattacks and election meddling to human rights violations.

"Russian-US relations are now at an impasse, the situation is close to critical. Something needs to be done," Yuri Ushakov, Putin's foreign affairs adviser, told journalists ahead of the summit.

"I view this meeting with practical optimism, but not much. It is a first meeting under difficult circumstances," he said.

Ushakov said the Russian and US ambassadors, who returned home this year amid tensions over sanctions, could go back to their posts immediately if the summit goes well.

"It will be a tremendous achievement if the ambassadors return to work," he said.

Ushakov said the two leaders would discuss cybersecurity, climate change, the Arctic and regional conflicts, among other issues.

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