ANALYSIS - US-Russia Summit Needed To Defuse Tensions Despite Fresh Sanctions

BRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th April, 2021) A meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, would help the two powers deescalate tensions, despite the proposal looking counter-intuitive in light of the new sanctions on Russia, experts told Sputnik.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced it would expel 10 Russian diplomats and impose sanctions on dozens of Russian nationals and companies. It also moved to raise Russia's borrowing costs by barring US entities from buying bonds directly from Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the response was "inevitable."

The sanctions came shortly after Biden proposed a summit during a phone call with Putin late on Tuesday. The Kremlin said hours later that it would study the idea.

Sven Biscop, a professor of international relations at Gent University in Belgium, told Sputnik that Biden's two-pronged approach showed the ability of world powers to compartmentalize their issues in order to make progress at least some things.

"It is the right mechanism to prevent a full disagreement on everything... A summit is indeed needed at this time and it is the right level, to see what is the position of each side and how to de-escalate from the tension that has appeared in the last few weeks," he said.

Biscop predicted that Putin would likely accept the invitation to meet with Biden in a neutral setting in order to take the edge off "nervousness" in US-Russia ties and set the stage for talks on a long list of issues that need to be discussed.

"This summit would be excellent to start a long process of discussing the issues on the table, from nuclear disarmament or the Iran nuclear deal to counter-terrorism... One cannot turn these negotiations on or off with a switch," he said.

Pierre Henrot, a security consultant in Brussels, echoed Biscop's sentiment that a US-Russia summit was needed to defuse tensions and deal with other issues, even though Russia is obviously going to announce an expulsion of US diplomats in a classic tit-for-tat move.

"A summit at presidential level is much needed to defuse the tensions that appeared lately," he said.

Henrot too pointed out a new diplomatic trend that allows countries to put issues in different boxes and treat them separately. A case in point is Russia's closeness with all parties to the Iran nuclear deal, which could help the US find a common ground with Iran and get the nuclear agreement back on track.