Putin: US-Russia ties at lowest point in years
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with US broadcaster NBC ahead of his first meeting with US President Joe Biden, said relations between Moscow and Washington were at their lowest point in years.
"We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years," Putin said, according to an official translation of excerpts of an interview that aired on Friday.
The two leaders will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday as Biden wraps up his first foreign trip as president.
What did Putin say about Donald Trump?
Putin, in the interview, voiced hope that Biden would be less impulsive than his predecessor, Donald Trump.
"It is my great hope that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting US president."
Putin described Biden as a "career man" who spent his life in politics, in contrast to the "colorful" Trump.
"I believe that former US President Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual ... He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not. But he didn't come from the US establishment," Putin said.
During the 2016 US election, Putin had openly admitted that he supported Trump, who in turn expressed his admiration for the Russian leader.
What did Putin think of Biden's 'killer' comment?
Since becoming president, Biden has taken a tough stance against Putin and in March described him as a "killer" in light of a series of high-profile deaths.
Asked about the remark, Putin laughed and said such accusations were part of America's "macho behavior."
"I've gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas under all kinds of pretext and reasons of different caliber and fierceness, and none of it surprises me," he said.
Such discourse "is part of US political culture where it's considered normal. By the way, not here, it is not considered normal here," he said.
What has Biden said about the upcoming talks?
The White House said Biden plans to bring up a range of US complaints at the summit, including ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow's aggression against Ukraine and the jailing of dissidents.
At the start of his eight-day trip to Europe, Biden insisted that the US was "not seeking conflict with Russia."
"We want a stable and predictable relationship ... but I've been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities."
How did Putin react to US allegations?
The Russian president denied having any knowledge of the ransomware attacks targeting US companies and infrastructure, according to NBC news. Instead, he called on Biden to reach an agreement with him on cyberspace.
When asked about the deaths of several Russian dissidents, including ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in 2006, allegedly by the Russian state, Putin dismissed the question as "verbal indigestion."
He also dismissed the recent Washington Post report that suggested Russia supplied Iran with satellite technology, enabling it to track potential military targets across the Middle East.
"It's just fake news. At the very least, I don't know anything about this kind of thing," Putin told NBC News. "It's just nonsense garbage."
adi/mm (Reuters, AFP, AP)