The summit in Geneva between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started with a shoving match and shouting among U.S. journalists and Russian journalists and security forces, according to a pool report of the incident.
Biden and Putin met Wednesday for the first time since Biden took office. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and a pair of translators were also in the room.
Typically, journalists are given the opportunity to ask some quick questions and grab a few minutes of news media filming and photographs before being told to leave, but Russian and U.S. security forces initially blocked them from entering.
The scene then devolved into minutes of chaos inside the meeting room.
American journalists described Russian security and news media grabbing them by the arms and clothes to try to hold them back. U.S. journalists tried to shoulder their way in, and a U.S. reporter was knocked to the ground.
"The media scuffle was the most chaotic your pooler has seen at a presidential event in nine years," Anita Kumar, a White House correspondent for Politico who was representing print news outlets for the press pool, wrote in a dispatch to U.S. media organizations. "Journalists pushed and shoved, yelling at each other to move but no one did."
"Journalists and White House officials screamed back that the Russian security should stop touching us," Kumar said in her pool report. "Your pooler was pushed multiple times, nearly to the ground, as many poolers tripped over the red rope, which was now almost to the ground."
Kumar noted that they appeared "amused by the scene."
"At one point, Biden leaned over and spoke to the interpreter and smiled," she noted in her report.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy said a video camera was permitted into the room, but audio equipment was not. He also said Russian security officials were pulling on U.S. journalists’ clothing in an attempt to get them out of the room.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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