When this phone rings, the nuclear war is on. Photo: Stefan Weichert.

A lot of people in Kyiv and abroad are waiting for today’s summit between Putin and Biden with great anticipation and some stress.

Today US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are meeting in Geneva for a five hour meeting. But not everyone are expecting great results from a Western or Ukrainian perspective. One of them is Timothy Ash in Kyiv Post.

“It feels like the Biden team gave in to Putin’s bullying, agreeing to this summit as they were trying to buy time – to get their team fully in place, avoid having to face up to an immediate crisis in Ukraine which seemed likely a few weeks back, to try and meet and rally Western allies against the perceived bigger threat from China, and to try and get COVID-19 more firmly under control,” writes Ash.

Also in Joe Biden’s America, few have great expectations for this meeting. In Foreign Affairs magazine, many different voices are airing their concerns about the meeting. One of them is Michael Kimmage, a professor at the Catholic University of America.

“Expectations for the Putin-Biden summit are rightly low. The stakes, however, are high. Russia and the West are currently sleepwalking toward the abyss. Neither side feels any pressure to compromise. Domestic politics in both countries rewards toughness. Each side is convinced that the other is in decline, making compromise that much less desirable, since one side’s collapse—and, by extension, the other’s victory—is only a matter of time.”

NATO membership will have to wait

This week has been dedicated to international politics. On Monday, the NATO heads of states and governments met. Following this summit, Kyiv was again put on hold for a way to NATO, though the government saw it like an invitation to NATO.

In a communique, the NATO countries wrote:

“We reiterate the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process; we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions, including that each partner will be judged on its own merits. We stand firm in our support for Ukraine’s right to decide its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference,” NATO writes.

They also write – and this can be read as a statement or a requirement – the following:

“The success of wide-ranging, sustainable, and irreversible reforms, including combating corruption, promoting an inclusive political process, and decentralisation reform, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities, and the rule of law, will be crucial in laying the groundwork for a prosperous and peaceful Ukraine. Further reforms in the security sector, including the reform of the Security Services of Ukraine, are particularly important. We welcome significant reforms already made by Ukraine and strongly encourage further progress in line with Ukraine’s international obligations and commitments:”

Later, Joe Biden underlined how much needs to be done in Ukraine for them to be able to join NATO.

“The fact is they (Ukraine) still have to clean up corruption. The fact is they have to meet other criteria to get into the Action Plan… It remains to be seen. In the meantime, we will do all that we can to put Ukraine in the position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression. And it will not just depend on me whether or not we conclude that — that Ukraine can become part of NATO; it will depend on the Alliance and how they vote,” said Biden before adding that it might not be easy to convince all NATO members.