Biden leaves Washington to meet allies -- then Putin

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Biden will begin the first foreign trip of his presidency later this week.

The announcement came after Zelensky, a former comedian who was elected president of Ukraine in 2019, aired his grievances to the press over the weekend with regard to Biden's decision making on Russian Federation.

Biden, 78, heads from the White House first to Britain ahead of a G7 summit in a Cornish seaside resort from Friday to Sunday.

Biden is also looking to rally allies on their COVID-19 response and to urge them to coalesce around a strategy to check emerging economic and national security competitor China even as the USA expresses concern about Europe's economic links to Moscow.

As a presidential candidate, Biden had criticized Trump's withdrawal as "short-sighted".

Trump argued that the United States can't afford to be the world's policeman, an isolationist stance popular with his voters.

From there he flies to Brussels for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on June 14 and the European Union meeting on the 15th, before heading to see Putin, whom Biden recently characterized as a "killer", in Switzerland.

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Central and Eastern Europeans are desperately hoping to bind the USA more tightly to their security.

But Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that with decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president under Barack Obama, Biden has done his homework.

President Joe Biden salutes as he steps off Marine One before boarding Air Force One upon departure, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

But as the world crawls out of the coronavirus disaster, Biden is positioning the United States as the lynchpin for vaccine sharing and ensuring economic recovery. Biden also wants to nudge outlying allies, including Australia, to make more aggressive commitments to the worldwide effort to curb global warming. "Joe Biden is not meeting with Vladimir Putin despite our countries' differences; he's meeting with him because of our countries' differences".

There are several potential areas of tension. Biden could also feel pressure on trade, an issue to which he's yet to give much attention.

With the world still crawling out from under the wreckage of Covid-19, Biden is casting his diplomatic marathon as a return to badly needed USA leadership. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the G7 leaders would announce a new initiative to "provide financing for physical, digital and health infrastructure" in the developing world - an alternative to China's Belt and Road initiative.

In the Axios interview, Zelenskiy, a professional comedian who was elected president in 2019, said he was surprised and disappointed that Biden had not done more to prevent development of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany, which is seen by Kyiv as a Kremlin project to eliminate it from the European gas transit system.

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