Putin says Biden meet 'constructive', talks agreed on cybersecurity, arms

By: AFP      Published: 11:36 PM, 16 Jun, 2021
Putin says Biden meet 'constructive', talks agreed on cybersecurity, arms
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with US President Joe Biden prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his first face-to-face meeting with US counterpart Joe Biden was "constructive" and the two sides had agreed to further discuss cybersecurity and arms control.

"The conversation was absolutely constructive", Putin told reporters after the talks with Biden in Geneva.

He described Biden as a "very constructive, balanced person, very experienced, you can see it immediately".

Putin said Biden had talked about his family and his mother, saying "this speaks of his moral values, and this is quite attractive."

The Russian leader said the two had "agreed to start consultations on cybersecurity" but suggested the United States had as big a problem with hacking and cybercriminals as Russia.

Washington has long complained of what it says is persistent and combative Russian cyber activity, namely meddling and interference in elections, that it says have been carried out either by Russian security services or hackers with links to the Kremlin.

Putin said the US had requested information on 10 separate cybersecurity incidents from Russia, and that Washington had received "exhaustive" answers in all cases.

"Russia sent 45 such requests to the United States last year," he said, "and 35 this year". 

"And we have not received a single answer," he said, claiming that: "The largest number of cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the US space."

Biden's administration brought sanctions against Russia in April in response to the SolarWinds cyberattack that targeted federal organisations and more than 100 US companies.

Biden had also vowed to raise pressure on Russia for harbouring cybercriminals who have been blamed in major attacks on a US oil pipeline and a meat supplier.

Putin also said that as the leading nuclear powers the two countries have "special responsibility for strategic stability in the world".

He said Biden had made a "responsible decision" in February to extend the New START nuclear treaty, the last remaining arms reduction pact between Russia and the United States. 

"The question is what comes next. We agreed that consultations will begin... between ministries of foreign affairs and defence."

Biden says 'last thing' Putin wants is new Cold War

US President Joe Biden voiced confidence Wednesday that his Russian counterpart did not want a new Cold War, and also said he had told him critical infrastructure must be "off limits" to cyber attacks.

"I think that the last thing he wants now is a Cold War," Biden told reporters after his first summit with Vladimir Putin, adding that he during the talks had stressed that "certain critical infrastructure should be off limits to attack -- period -- by cyber or any other means."

Biden says tone of Putin talks was 'good, positive'

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that discussions during his first summit with Vladimir Putin were "positive", but he warned his Russian counterpart that Washington would not tolerate interference in US democracy.

"The tone of the entire meeting... was good, positive," Biden told reporters after the summit in Geneva, stressing though that he "made it clear that we will not tolerate attempts to violate our democratic sovereignty or destabilise our democratic elections and we would respond."

Biden says Putin criticism of US human rights 'ridiculous'

US President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin had made "ridiculous" comparisons on human rights, following their summit in Geneva on Wednesday.

Responding to comments from Putin about the January storming of the US Capitol, Biden told reporters: "That's a ridiculous comparison. It's one thing for literally criminals to break through a cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer and be held accountable, than it is for people objecting, marching on the Capitol and saying you are not allowing me to speak freely."