Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with NBC News before meeting with US President Joe Biden next week that US-Russian relations are at their lowest point in many years.
Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The White House has stated that Biden will refer to ransomware attacks from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents, and other issues that anger relations between the two countries.
“We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin said, according to an NBC translation of excerpts of an interview broadcast on Friday.
Putin praised former President Donald Trump as “an extraordinary individual, talented individual,” and said Biden, as a career politician, was “radically different” from Trump.
Asked about Biden calling him a killer in an interview in March, Putin said he had heard dozens of such accusations. “This is not something I worry about in the least,” Putin said.
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.”
Putin was asked how the deaths of several Russian dissidents were blamed on Moscow, including the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in 2006. Putin dismissed this issue as “speech indigestion.” He said that some of those responsible for the death have been in jail.
NBC News reported that Putin denied any knowledge of hackers on the issue of ransomware attacks tracked by the United States recently and called on Biden to reach an agreement with him on cyberspace.
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, according to NBC News. “It s just nonsense garbage.”