02:43 GMT08 May 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden considers it vital to be straightforward and clear with Russian President Vladimir Putin and thinks the best way to do so is through an in-person meeting, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in an interview published on Tuesday.

    "President Biden believes very strongly that it’s important to be clear and direct, and one of the best ways to do that is actually meeting face to face", Blinken told The Financial Times.

    Blinken said diplomacy is all about actually engaging directly.

    "And I’ve always been struck; as a diplomat, people sometimes seem to think that’s a problematic thing or some sign of weakness", he said.

    Blinken said Washington does not seek to escalate with Russia, but wants to have a more predictable relationship.

    "And if Russia continues to take reckless and aggressive actions, it can be sure we will respond again", he added. "I think it’s beneficial also to – for the two presidents to be able to speak directly face to face".

    Blinken also pointed out that there are areas where the two nations have mutual interest to cooperate.

    "We’ve already seen one of them, and that was the extension of the New START Treaty", he noted. "There are other areas of the so-called strategic stability realm where maybe progress can be made".

    The Biden administration recently expelled 10 Russian diplomats from the United States and imposed sanctions on 32 Russian entities and individuals as part of a new round of sanctions over Moscow's alleged cyberattacks and other hostile acts against US interests.

    Moscow has denied the allegations and said the latest US sanctions run contrary to the US administration's rhetoric that it seeks a stable relationship with Russia.

    Moscow has provided the United States a list of reciprocal actions it will impose on the US Mission to Russia, which is currently being reviewed by the Biden administration.

    The United States and Russia are currently working on possibly holding a summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early summer.

    Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Antony Blinken, Russia, US
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