Vladimir Putin touches down for crunch Biden summit on luxury £390million 'Flying Kremlin' presidential plane

VLADIMIR Putin has arrived for his landmark showdown with US President Joe Biden which will set the template for the US's new relationship with Russia.

The Russian president arrived at the Villa La Grange in Genevea, Switzerland, and is expected to have a preliminary meeting with Swiss president Guy Parmelin.

Putin and Biden will meet later on today for the first time both as leaders of their respective nations.

Vlad arrived by his luxurious presidential jet dubbed the "Flying Kremlin" – which is said to be worth £390million.

It is reported to have a gold plated toilet and an onboard gym, with the the cabin is lavishly decorated with dripping tapestries and gold accents.

The furniture and interior décor are finished in the neoclassical style, and the planes are equipped with a spacious office, a bedroom and a fully-equipped gym.

Putin’s jet is capable of hitting speeds of up to 560mph and was made by the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association.

The IL-96-300PU jet it is equipped with advanced communication system that allows it to act as a management centre capable of commanding of troops in case of unexpected attack.

Putin's plane touched down in Geneva at 12.27pm local time with tensions between Moscow and Washington at their highest in years.

It comes as…

  • US and Russia both held war games ahead of the summit as Putin deployed 'Dagger' missiles
  • Biden branded Putin a 'worthy adversary' after previously calling him a 'killer' – while Vlad also took aim at Joe
  • Ukraine is considering joining NATO in a blow to Russia after months of military tension
  • Biden blasted his predecessor Trump in a speech at NATO accusing in him 'phony populism'
  • Putin and Biden's feud has rattled on for 20 years as the Democrat said the Russian leader doesn't have a 'soul'
  • Vlad's distrust of the US is said to be rooted in his fear of being 'killed like Gaddafi'
  • Trump ally Mike Pompeo said Putin would sniff out Biden's 'weakness' and 'drive a truck through it'

The two leaders have already exchanged barbs, with the US President branding Putin a "killer" while the Russian leader described Biden as attempting to be "macho" and "Hollywood".

The US President on Monday also described Putin as a "worthy adversary" as he pledged to confront him on various issues between the two powers, saying his rival is "bright" and "tough".

Biden is expected to confront Putin as relations between the two superpowers have hit rocket bottom.

And the summit represents the first major diplomatic challenge for Biden since he took office in January and is the conclusion of his first overseas tour around Europe.

Election meddling, cyber attacks and military tensions over Ukraine are all expected to be on the table as Putin and Biden butt heads and squabble for status.

The two men's relationship is forecast to be much more frosty than the Russian supremo's quite chummy one with Biden's predecessor Trump.

It is expected Biden and Putin will hold separate press conferences, and their summit is expected will last up to five hours.

Both sides have already grimly downplayed expectations for any significant progress.

Biden has repeatedly called out Putin for cyberattacks by Russian-based hackers on the US, accused of him running roughshod over democracy and interfering in American elections.

Putin meanwhile has denied any malicious actions against the US – and pointed to the US Capitol attack on January 6 as comparable to his own actions in cracking down on opposition.

Biden has said his main goal is simply to establish clear "red lines" for what the White House will no longer tolerate from Russia.

"I'm not looking for conflict," Biden said in Brussels after the NATO summit, but "we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities".

Meanwhile, Yuri Ushakov, Putin's foreign affairs adviser, told journalists in Moscow that the US-Russian relationship was "at an impasse" and there is "not much" ground for optimism.

Putin is expected to come into the summit and simply argue that Russia is standing up for its own interested and challenging US dominance on the world stage.

There are hopes of finding small areas of agreement – including the end of a diplomatic row which saw both the US and Russian ambassadors recalled from their postings in Moscow and Washington.

Asked if he was ready for Putin, Biden smiled and said "I'm always ready" as he left for Geneva.

However, Trump ally and expected 2024 presidential challenger Mike Pompeo said that Putin would smell Biden's "weakness" as the two are not expected to hold a joint press conference.

"The fact that you are not prepared to stand six or eight feet from your adversary and tell the world what you talked about, the things you care about, and why you care about them, shows an enormous weakness," Pompeo told Fox News.

He went on: "They are watching this. When they smell weakness, when they can sniff it…they will drive a truck through it. 

"To see if you are not prepared to simply stand on a podium and respond to questions from the press that might be hard or tricky while your adversary is standing a few feet away from you, that is an enormous sign of weakness."

Trump and Putin shared a stage at their summit in Helsinki in 2018, when the then US President stunned the world by appearing to back Russia over his own security services.

Biden has been highly sceptical of the Russian leader for more than 20 years – and previously slammed former US President George W. Bush for claiming Putin is “trustworthy". 

One former US official told Politico ahead of this week’s meeting that there is “nothing Putin can do to make [the president] like him.” 

“Biden sees Putin as someone who is rational, thuggish — someone who is not confined by any sense of morality or concern over human rights or anything of that nature … just a cold, hard realistic assessment of the man," they said.

The pair have met previously, ten years ago when Biden was vice president. 

Biden claims that during the meeting he told Putin he did not believe he has a soul – an apparent reference to Bush saying he saw the Russian leader's "soul" during their first meeting in Slovenia.

“Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden told a journalist of the March 2011 Moscow meeting. 

Biden claimed that Putin smiled and replied “we understand one another" – but Putin denies that conversation ever took place.

The meeting on Wednesday comes after Biden has held multiple summits with some of the US’s top European allies and visited the UK for the G7.

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