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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

At their summit in Geneva on Wednesday, President Biden gifted Russian Vladimir Putin a crystal sculpture of an American bison — the national mammal of the U.S. — and a pair of custom Aviator sunglasses, according to a White House official.

The big picture: The summit came at a low point in U.S.-Russia relations, as acknowledged by both sides. Biden has said he is not seeking a "reset" in relations, but a more "stable" and "predictable" dynamic between the U.S. and Russia.

Background, per the White House:

President Biden gifted Russian Vladimir Putin a crystal sculpture of an American Bison by Steuben Glass of New York, a stately interpretation of one of our nation’s most majestic mammals and representative of strength, unity, resilience. In 2016, it was officially named the national mammal of the United States when the Obama-Biden Administration signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law. In Russia, over the past 20 years, European bison were reintroduced by rewilding numerous sites after their extinction in 1927. The sculpture will be presented on a cherry wood base, symbolic of our nation’s first president, George Washington, with a custom engraved inscription plaque commemorating the meeting between President Biden and President Putin.
President Biden also gifted President Putin a pair of custom Aviators made by Randolph USA. In 1978, Randolph joined forces with the U.S. military to produce the HGU-4/P Aviator designed for fighter pilots. They have since provided the U.S. military and NATO partners with their high-level, durable aviators, manufactured domestically in their Massachusetts factory.

Go deeper: Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2021 - World

Scoop: Russia seeks trilateral talks with U.S. and Israel on Syria

Secretaries Blinken (left) and Lavrov. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry\TASS via Getty

Russia has asked Israel to encourage the U.S. to agree to hold high-level trilateral talks on Syria, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israel's main focus in Syria is getting Iran out, and that would likely only be possible through U.S.-Russian cooperation. 

5 mins ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspend the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.