The former United States Ambassador to Russia for President Barack Obama criticized the idea that President Joe Biden had reached any major achievement by meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin unilaterally pulled Ambassador Antonov from Washington. Biden didn’t kick him out,” wrote Michael McFaul, the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 on social media. “To call his return to DC now as a ‘major achievement’ of Geneva is a gross exaggeration.”
Putin unilaterally pulled Ambassador Antonov from Washington. Biden didn't kick him out. To call his return to DC now as a "major achievement" of Geneva is a gross exaggeration.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 16, 2021
In March, Putin recalled his ambassador in the United States to Russia after Biden said he thought the Russian president was a killer during an interview with ABC News. Biden also recalled his ambassador to Russia in April.
Putin announced during his press conference after the summit that he would send his ambassador back to the United States and that Biden would send an ambassador back to Russia.
“The two ambassadors, we agreed, should return to their posts and take up their functions,” Putin said. “It’s a technical question as to exactly when that will happen — tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or whatever.”
In an appearance on MSNBC, McFaul said there were some “tiny tiny baby steps” with the two leaders on issues of Iran, Syria, and cybersecurity but that there were no immediate deliverable successes from the summit.
He cautioned that it would be a mistake for Biden to normalize the relationship with Putin, sharing his concerns about allowing his controversial behavior to continue.
“That means we’re going to lock into place and not deal with all the belligerent behavior of Vladimir Putin over the last several years,” he said. “Remember, he annexed Crimea!”