MOSCOW (Dispatches) – Russian President Vladimir Putin, in advance of his June 16 meeting with United States President Joe Biden, said relations between the U.S. and Russia are at a nadir.
“We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin told NBC News in an interview broadcast Friday with an English translation of his remarks.
Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva next week and Biden, upon arriving in the United Kingdom for his first overseas trip as president Wednesday, warned Putin he would send a clear message to him during their meeting.
The presidents’ first in-person meeting comes as relations between Washington and Moscow are strained over several issues, including alleged Russian cyberattacks against the U.S.
Putin added that Biden “is radically different from (former U.S. president Donald) Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics.”
“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.”
Asked by NBC 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 first proposed the summit in April, saying he would like to meet with Putin during his trip to Europe in June in a third country to discuss rising tensions between the two countries.
Moscow has said it has “significant differences” with Washington in how it views world affairs but is ready to discuss contentious issues with the U.S. based on honesty and mutual respect.
Putin’s last meeting with a U.S. president was with Trump in Helsinki in 2018.
The US has imposed waves of sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, alleged meddling in the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections, and the recent jailing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
More recently, tensions escalated between the two sides over the Russian-speaking Donbass region of Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces have been fighting since 2014.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.