President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the ‘Villa la Grange’, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After about three hours of talks at the lakeside of Geneva villa between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, Russia and the United States have agreed to return their respective envoys to their posts.

Both presidents on Wednesday held an in-person meeting for the first since relations got heavily struck after Biden took over office.

The two sides reached an important agreement to return their chief diplomats to Moscow and Washington.

Earlier in March,  Russia recalled its envoy after Biden said that he thought Putin was a “killer” and the United States followed suit while accusing Russia of meddling in the 2020 presidential election.

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Both men used careful pleasantries to describe their face-to-face discussions at the lakeside Swiss villa, with Biden calling them “positive” and Putin describing them as “constructive” and with little concrete progress made.

But there was no hiding their differences on issues such as human rights, where Biden said the consequences for Russia would be “devastating” if jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny died.

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They also agreed to begin a dialogue on nuclear arms control.

Despite the little agreements, there was little sign of agreement on other issues, including cyber-security, Ukraine and the fate of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a penal colony.

This was quite evident in the separate interviews both leaders had after.

In his own address, Putin suggested that Washington was in no position to lecture Moscow on rights, batting away question about his crackdown on political rivals by saying he was trying to avoid the “disorder” of a popular movement, such as Black Lives Matter.

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He also dismissed concerns of the US 0ver about Navalny, Russia’s increased military presence near Ukraine’s eastern border and the claims of sponsoring the recent cyberattacks.

Whereas Biden Mr Biden rejected his counterpart’s comments about Black Lives Matter as “ridiculous”, and said human rights would “always be on the table”.

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