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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jun 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden and Putin's "red line" summit

Courtesy TIME

After a bitter blast from Russia's Vladimir Putin and tough talk from President Biden, both sides agree: Don't count on much from Wednesday's summit.

What they're saying: "We’re not expecting a big set of deliverables out of this meeting," a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Air Force One from Brussels to Geneva. "No breaking of bread."

Updated Jun 16, 2021 - World

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

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

First person: What I learned in the room with Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo: Glen Johnson/State Department/Public Domain

I had the rare opportunity to watch Vladimir Putin in action during my four-year stint serving as a senior communications aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Why it matters: From his timing to his baiting techniques and his postgame spin, Russia's president commands an array of tactics aimed at putting U.S. leaders on the defensive and in response mode — and has decades of experience fine-tuning them.