Biden and Putin in joint statement say 'nuclear war cannot be won'

Leaders say they can make progress together 'even in periods of tension'

US President Joe Biden (R) talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva on June 16, 2021.  / AFP / POOL / PETER KLAUNZER
Powered by automated translation

Washington and Moscow on Wednesday issued a rare joint statement saying "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought" after a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Released by the White House, the statement recognised the major accomplishment of holding an in-person meeting despite increasing tension between the two countries.

"We, President of the United States of America Joseph R Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war," the statement read.

The statement on strategic stability focused heavily on the subject of nuclear weapons, saying that the renewed New Start Treaty shows the two countries' "commitment to nuclear arms control".

"Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the statement read.

Mr Biden said after the summit that he believed it was not in anyone's interest to start a new Cold War.

In the statement, the two leaders said the US and Russia will continue diplomatic discussions that will build on the Geneva meeting, specifically focusing on the integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue centred on arms control and risk reduction.

Expressing hope for future talks, Mr Biden said there was "no substitute for face-to-face dialogue".

However, Mr Putin said neither leader had invited the other to either Moscow or Washington for such talks.