Vladimir Putin has said that relations with the United States are at their lowest level in years, ahead of his meeting with Joe Biden next week.
Of the U.S.-Russia relationship, Putin said it ‘has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years.’
The Russian president, in an interview with NBC News, described Donald Trump was ‘an extraordinary individual,’ and said that Biden – who he has known for decades – was ‘radically different’.
Putin told Keir Simmons: ‘Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president Mr Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. president.
‘He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not.
‘And, but he didn’t come from the U.S. establishment. He had not been part of big-time politics before, and some like it, some don’t like it but that is a fact.’
Trump was dogged by accusations of his being too cozy to Russia, and in awe of their strongman leader.
Vladimir Putin spoke to NBC News on Friday, ahead of his meeting with Joe Biden in Geneva on Wednesday. He laughed when asked about Biden’s March description of him as a ‘killer’
Putin is seen speaking to Keir Simmons of NBC News on Friday. He said relations between the United States and Russia were at their lowest level in years
Donald Trump is seen with Putin, being given a soccer ball in July 2018, the day after the World Cup final was held in Moscow
Melania Trump looks on as her husband greets Trump in Helsinki, with Trump praising an ‘extraordinary relationship’ with Russia
Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday.
The 68-year-old Russian said Biden, 78, ‘is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics.’
Putin added: ‘That’s a different kind of person, and 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 U.S. president.’
The White House has said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the jailing of dissidents and other issues that have irritated the relationship.
Last year Biden told his biographer, Evan Osnos, about meeting Putin in the Kremlin in 2011.
Joe Biden is pictured meeting Putin in Moscow in March 2011, when Biden was vice president and Putin was prime minister. The two men have known each other for many years
Biden has previously said that, at the March 2011 encounter (above), he looked Putin in the eye and told him he had no soul. Putin replied: ‘We understand one another’
‘I said, ‘Mr Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden recalled.
‘And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’ This is who this guy is!’
In March, Biden described Putin as ‘a killer’.
‘This is not something I worry about in the least,’ Putin said.
‘Over my tenure, I’ve gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas under all kinds of pretext and reasons and of different caliber and fierceness, and none of it surprises me.’
He dismissed the ‘killer’ label as ‘Hollywood macho.’
Pressed further by Simmons, who mentioned by name some of the Putin opponents who have been killed in recent years, the Russian leader bristled.
‘Look, you know, I don’t want to come across as being rude, but this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it’s verbal indigestion,’ Putin said.
‘You’ve mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals,’ he said.
Putin described Trump as an outsider who was an ‘extraordinarily talented individual’ – but was unimpressed when Simmons asked about the deaths of Russian dissidents
Biden, at the start of an eight-day visit to Europe this week, said: ‘We’re 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.’
On the issue of recent ransomware attacks that the United States has traced to Russia, Putin denied any knowledge of the hackings and called on Biden to reach an agreement with him on cyberspace, NBC News said.
Putin also dismissed a report in the Washington Post this week that Russia was preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite that would enable 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 said.
‘It’s just nonsense garbage.’
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