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Data: U.S. Department of State's Office of the Historian; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of meetings between U.S. and Russian presidents has dwindled in recent years, according to State Department data.

Why it matters: Any get-together is momentous if only for the participants. U.S. presidents have met with Russian dictators during World War II. The nations' leaders have signed arms deals, discussed Ukraine and reports of election interference by Russia in U.S. elections.

What to watch: President Biden has studied up for the summit, meeting with experts and even former Trump officials, Axios reported.

  • The president plans to be tough with Putin but isn't overly optimistic about what can get done, according to Politico.
  • Axios World author David Lawler notes: "All of Biden's predecessors on this list came into office hoping to improve relations with Russia. Biden's goals are more modest: to work together on the few issues, like nuclear security, where interests overlap, and to avoid crises that will cause relations to deteriorate any further."

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. 

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.