MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday welcomed the outcome of his summit with President Joe Biden and called him a shrewd and savvy negotiator.
The two leaders concluded three hours of talks on Wednesday in Geneva, exchanging expressions of mutual respect but firmly reaffirming their radically different views on cyber attacks, the conflict in Ukraine, political dissent and other issues. At the same time, they announced an agreement to mutually fire their ambassadors and planned more talks on arms control and cybersecurity.
Putin, who hailed Biden as a very experienced and constructive interlocutor at a press conference in Geneva, praised the U.S. leader on Thursday in a video call with graduates from a government management school.
Biden kept him on his toes with his skillful negotiating skills, Putin said.
“He is well aware of the matter,” Putin said. “He’s fully focused and knows what he wants to accomplish. And he does it very cleverly.”
“The atmosphere was quite friendly,” he added. “I think we managed to understand each other, we managed to understand each other’s positions on a key issue; they differ on a lot of things and we noted the differences. At the same time, we established areas and points where we can possibly reconcile our positions in the future. “
Putin particularly stressed the importance of an agreement to discuss cybersecurity, saying it would help reduce tensions.
Biden said he and Putin agreed to ask their experts to understand what types of critical infrastructure would be off limits to cyber attacks. The deal follows a flood of ransomware attacks against US companies and government agencies that US officials say originated from Russia.
Putin, who has firmly denied any role for the Russian state in cyber attacks, argued Thursday that “instead of pointing fingers and bickering, we should better combine our efforts to fight cybercrime.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov took note of the presidents’ joint statement that the two countries will engage in dialogue on issues of strategic stability and reaffirmed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be won. be carried out “- a principle declared by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at their summit in Geneva in 1985.
The strategic stability dialogue would cover a wide range of issues related to nuclear and other weapons and is essential to reduce the risk of conflict between the two superpowers.
The talks follow a decision this year to extend the New START, the latest arms control pact between the United States and Russia, and would aim to develop a follow-up agreement after it expires in 2026.
The negotiations will be complex and arduous. The United States is worried about new destabilizing weapons developed by Russia, such as the atomic and nuclear-powered Poseidon underwater drone, while Russia wants to include U.S. missile defense and potential space weapons in a deal.
Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, hoped that expert discussions would help reduce animosity.
“The more the experts meet, the less room there is for politicians for speculation and manipulation,” he said.
US-Russian relations collapsed after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, accusations of Russian interference in elections and cyber attacks, and Western criticism of the Kremlin’s crackdown on the opposition .
On Ukraine, Russia reaffirmed its view that the country’s candidacy for NATO membership represents a red line, while the United States reaffirmed that the door to the alliance remains open.
Some in Ukraine have expressed hope that the summit could help ease tensions that have risen this year when Russia stepped up forces near Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Republicans accuse Biden of being weak in the face of Russia and of missing out on an opportunity to reassert the country’s power on the world stage.
Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy said Biden gave Putin a ‘pass’ at their summit, while former President Donald Trump said the United States’ got nothing ” Of the reunion.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, potential candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, said: “America today is weaker than it was on the world stage a year ago. barely 48 hours.
Calling on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel, Trump said the Biden summit accomplished too little.
“We gave Russia a really big stage and we got nothing,” Trump said Wednesday night.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan defended the talks on a call Thursday with reporters and said Biden challenged Putin “on a range of issues the former president, Representative McCarthy supported , strongly gave President Putin a pass “.
“He did not side with Putin against the intelligence community on this matter, quite the contrary,” he said, adding: “I really don’t think it is too much to say that Joe Biden returns from this trip as a clear and consensual leader. of the free world. “
Information for this article was provided by Kostya Manenkov, Yuras Karmanau, Meg Kinnard, and Josh Boak of the Associated Press.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets President Joe Biden on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)
Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Walks into the chamber as the House returns from a recess on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday, June 14, 2021 (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)
President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday June 16, 2021 at “Villa la Grange” in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a press conference following his meeting with US President Joe Biden at “Villa la Grange” in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
FILE – In this file photo from March 26, 2021, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the West Side Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa. Pompeo became the last former Trump administration official to launch a political action committee. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at “Villa la Grange” on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the North Carolina Republican Convention on Saturday June 5, 2021 in Greenville, NC (AP Photo / Chris Seward)