| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Putin says ties with U.S. at lowest point in years

Russia’s relations with the United States are at their lowest point in years said President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with NBC News and ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden next week.

Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The White House has said Biden will talk about ransomware attacks emanating from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the jailing of dissidents and other issues that have irritated the relationship.

“We have a bilateral relationship that has crumbled 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 dispute with Russia.”

“We want a stable and predictable relationship … but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a strong and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”

Putin was asked about several Russian dissidents whose deaths have been blamed on Moscow, including ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in 2006. Putin dismissed the question as “verbal indigestion.“ He said some of those responsible for the deaths are in prison.

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.

  • Reuters