Russia's Putin says ties with US lowest in years, recalls Trump as 'talented, extraordinary' man
Russia's president Vladimir Putin on Friday said that his country's bilateral relationship with the United States of America has reached its lowest point in years, noting that US president Joe Biden is a "radically different" man than his predecessor, Donald Trump. In an interview with American media outlet NBC News, Putin hardly concealed his admiration for ex-president Trump, calling him an "extraordinary" and "talented" individual, while he referred to Biden as a career politician disparate with such traits.
Putin's statements regarding US-Russia relations come just ahead of his meeting with Biden at Geneva next week. "We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years," news agency Reuters quoted Putin as saying, citing transcripts of the interview put out by NBC News. The Russian president also took his time to refute allegations against his regime on a host of issues, ranging from alleged ransomware attacks against the US emanating from Russia, aggression against Ukraine, jailing of dissidents, and questionable foreign policies in the Middle East.
The deaths of several dissidents of Putin's regime, including that of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in 2006, have over the years been directly blamed on Moscow. When asked about these incidents, Putin simply dismissed the question as "verbal indigestion", adding that some of those accused in the murder cases are already in prison.
In the context of recent ransomware attacks that Washington says have been traced back to Russia, Putin blatantly denied any knowledge of the hackings and said that he will, in turn, seek to establish a cyberspace agreement with Biden.
Finally, when asked about a recent report in the Washington Post report which accused Russia of supplying Iran with an advanced satellite to track military targets across the Middle East, Putin dismissed it as "fake news". "At the very least, I don't know anything about this kind of thing," Putin was quoted as saying at the interview with NBC News.
Joe Biden, for his part, has said that the United States desires to establish a "stable and predictable relationship" with Russia. However, America will not hesitate to respond in "a robust and meaningful way" if the Russian government continues to engage in detrimental activities, Biden added. It remains to be seen what the future lies for US-Russia relations ahead of Biden's eight-day visit to Europe this week.