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Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told me on "Axios on HBO" that President Biden will be candid, frank — and tough — during this week's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • "The president will make clear to the Russians that they cannot harbor cyber terrorists and criminals in their country and not be held accountable for it," she added. "And they need to take the responsibility for dealing with this issue."

Between the lines: When I asked the ambassador about the risks of Biden's grand trip, she said: "Look, nothing can go wrong on this trip."

  • I interjected: That's a jinx if I've ever heard one!
  • "It's not a jinx," she replied. "He's being embraced and he's being welcomed. ... So I'm confident that nothing can go wrong on this visit."

On the "Do not come" message Vice President Harris gave to would-be migrants during last week's Latin America swing, Thomas-Greenfield said the vice president was offering "people hope where they live."

  • "Our immigration program is one that works," the ambassador added. "But if you have people trying to cross the border illegally, it can't work for them."

The big picture: Thomas-Greenfield, a career foreign service officer who rose to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs before becoming part of Biden's cabinet, has been drawing attention to the famine in the Tigray region of Ethiopia — the worst on earth in a decade.

And she's making conflict-driven hunger a top issue.

  • "I have been very assertive, particularly in New York and particularly in demanding that my colleagues at the Security Council address this issue in an opening meeting," she said.
  • "My view is sovereignty does not come into play when you have foreign troops in your country, when your people are crossing borders into other countries, and we're watching on national TV your people starve to death," she continued. "I will say here as I've said in the Security Council: Don't African lives matter? "

Thomas-Greenfield called her work at the U.N. "a treadmill, every single day."

  • "I do four or five meetings with various countries on a daily basis," she said. "I'm working down the list. And hopefully by September, I will have met everyone."

Go deeper: In the video clip below, the ambassador describes her worldwide adventures with "gumbo diplomacy."

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Go deeper

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10% of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

The shifting definition of fully vaccinated

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to officially change it.

Why it matters: CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who've already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all.