Putin accuses America of turning Russia into 'the enemy' & gushes about Biden after crunch summit
VLADIMIR Putin accused the US turning Russia into "the enemy" as he said Joe Biden is "very different" to Donald Trump as the world leaders met in Geneva.
Putin was speaking to the press after some three hours and half of talks between himself, Biden and officials from the US and Russia.
The 68-year-old characterised discussions as "constructive" – but stopped short of highlighting major progress beyond the return of ambassadors to Moscow and Washington.
And in one of the most charged exchanges, an ABC reporter asked him "Mr President, what are you so afraid of?" in relation to his brutal crackdown on the opposition activists in Russia.
Putin responded by claiming the US had branded Russia their "enemy" and accused them of backing opposition groups.
"The US calls Russia an enemy. The supports specific organisations in Russia, what kind of organisations will they be? So we've labelled them foreign agents," he said.
It seems to echo Putin's long term fears that the US may attempt to sow unrest in an effort depose him.
It comes as…
- Biden was spotted seemingly using a 'cheat sheet' as he sat down with Putin ahead of the summit
- Body language expert Judi James said Putin was attempting to look 'full alpha' while Biden looked like a 'mourner'
- Hillary Clinton called on Biden to push back against Putin's alleged cyber siege of the US
- Trump ally Mike Pompeo said Putin would sniff out Biden's 'weakness' and 'drive a truck through it'
- Putin and Biden's feud has rattled on for 20 years as the Democrat said the Russian leader doesn't have a 'soul'
- Vlad's distrust of the US is said to be rooted in his fear of being 'killed like Gaddafi'
And he was also quizzed about how Biden compared to his predecessor Trump, with Putin describing him as "very different".
He said: "This is a very experienced politician. We had tête-à-tête for almost two hours.
"That's not something you do in such a detailed way with many politicians… His predecessor had a different view.
"This one decided to act differently and his reply was different from Trump's."
He revealed the issue of Ukraine was discussed, but gave no further information.
The summit had originally been forecast to last a marathon five hours.
Both had said they hoped for more stable and predictable relations, even though they were at odds over everything from arms control and cyber-hacking to election interference and Ukraine.
Talks broke at 5.05pm local time and the media were left awaiting duelling press conferences between Biden and Putin.
Biden is expected to address the media at around 6.30pm UK time – which is 7.30pm local time.
He was seen leaving the Villa La Grange in his presidential limo The Beast – and will give a press conference from a separate location.
Biden flashed a 'thumbs-up' to reporters as he left the lakeside mansion.
Biden arrived second for the start of the meeting at around noon, and decision to give a press conference second is likely again to be carefully planned out optics – allowing him to have the last word.
US officials opted to not let the two presidents share a stage as Putin and Trump did back in 2018.
It is believed to have been a signal of the new firmer stance towards Russia, but some of Biden's critics said the decision not to face-off with Putin made him look "weak".
Putin and Biden were introduced to each other by Swiss president Guy Parmelin ahead of the meeting which was expected to set Russia and the US's volatile relationship for years to come.
Joe extended his hand first, which was then grasped by Putin – who appeared to flash a sinister looking grin at the awaiting photographers.
"Mr President, I’d like to thank you for your initiative to meet today," Putin said, adding he knew Biden "had a long trip and lots of work".
Biden said: "It is always better to meet face to face."
Sitting down with each other inside the venue, Putin said he hoped for a "productive" meeting – while Biden said he wanted "predictable" relations with Moscow.
Biden sat with his legs crossed ahead of the talks, while Putin reclined back into his chair and splayed his feet in a power stance.
The two men were joined by their top diplomats, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
Tensions hung over the meeting as the press jostled with Russian security guards as they hurled questions at the two leaders.
Neither Biden or Putin responded as they posed for the awaiting photographers.
It came after the two leaders had already exchanged barbs, with the US President branding Putin a "killer" while the Russian leader described Biden as attempting to be "macho" and "Hollywood".
Biden also described Putin as a "worthy adversary" as he pledged to confront him on various issues as relations hit rock bottom.
And the summit represented the first major diplomatic challenge for Biden since he took office in January and is the conclusion of his first overseas tour around Europe.
Election meddling, cyber attacks and military tensions over Ukraine are all expected to be on the table as Putin and Biden butt heads and squabble for status.
The two men's relationship is forecast to be much more frosty than the Russian supremo's quite chummy one with Biden's predecessor Trump.
Biden has been highly sceptical of the Russian leader for more than 20 years – and previously slammed former US President George W. Bush for claiming Putin is “trustworthy".
One former US official told Politico ahead of this week’s meeting that there is “nothing Putin can do to make [the president] like him.”
“Biden sees Putin as someone who is rational, thuggish — someone who is not confined by any sense of morality or concern over human rights or anything of that nature … just a cold, hard realistic assessment of the man," they said.
The pair have met previously, ten years ago when Biden was vice president.
Biden claims that during the meeting he told Putin he did not believe he has a soul – an apparent reference to Bush saying he saw the Russian leader's "soul" during their first meeting in Slovenia.
“Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden told a journalist of the March 2011 Moscow meeting.
Biden claimed that Putin smiled and replied “we understand one another" – but Putin denies that conversation ever took place.
Today's meeting came after Biden has held multiple summits with some of the US’s top European allies and visited the UK for the G7.
Source: Read Full Article