Putin praises 1st meeting with Biden as 'constructive', 'substantive'

Wed, 16 Jun 2021 20:55 GMT
Russian president says meeting with Biden was 'result-oriented' with 'glimpses of trust' Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his meeting on Wednesday with his US counterpart had been "constructive" and "substantive." At a news conference in Geneva...
Putin praises 1st meeting with Biden as 'constructive', 'substantive'

Russian president says meeting with Biden was 'result-oriented' with 'glimpses of trust'

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his meeting on Wednesday with his US counterpart had been "constructive" and "substantive."

At a news conference in Geneva following the meeting, Putin said Joe Biden and he discussed issues of strategic stability, global security, regional conflicts, trade and cooperation in Arctic.

He also announced that the two countries had agreed on returning their respective ambassadors to each other's capitals. Russia's Anatoly Antonov, summoned after Biden's "killer" remarks, is to return to Washington, while John Sullivan will be back in Moscow.

As for the remarks, Putin said the US president had explained the comment during a phone call, adding that he had been "satisfied" with the explanation.

In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry and US State Department are to start consultations on the entire range of diplomatic problems between the two countries.

"The Foreign Ministry and the State Department are beginning consultations on the entire complex on the diplomatic track. It seemed to me that both sides are determined to look for solutions," Putin said.

The Russian president stressed that Moscow and Washington bear a "particular responsibility" for global stability as the two biggest nuclear states.

He praised as "responsible" Biden's decision to expand the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), as well as his further steps in arms control that he said will be discussed by the diplomatic services of the two countries with the involvement of related bodies.

Another area where Russia and the US agreed to hold additional consultations is cybersecurity, he said.

Noting that the two leaders had their differences on many topics, Putin said that nonetheless "there was a desire from both sides to understand each other and look for solutions."

Ukraine's conflict was discussed "briefly," during which the US president confirmed that the solutions were within the Minsk Agreement, Putin said.

Asked about Ukraine's possible admission to the NATO alliance, Putin said "there is nothing to talk about here."

As for Russia's "obligations" regarding Ukraine, he said Moscow only had the obligation to contribute to the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, which he accused Kyiv of trying to turn upside down by starting from the last clauses before the first.

The Russian president also defended troop deployments near Ukraine's borders, saying they were on Russian soil and that Moscow has right to hold military exercises anywhere on its territory.

Biden on opposition, human rights in Russia

Asked about imprisoned Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Putin said Biden had raised that issue during their meeting, along with that of human rights in Russia.

Without naming Navalny directly, Putin said he had been rightfully imprisoned for knowingly violating parole, with his Anti-Corruption Foundation recognized as an extremist organization for making calls to mass unrest and to attack police, Putin said.

He also argued that the US was not in a position to serve as an example of respect for human rights, citing the existence of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as the treatment of people opposing Biden's election, referring to the raid of the US Capitol last January.

"One can hardly agree that this is how human rights are protected. Including those individuals who receive money from abroad to promote the interests of those who pay them," he said.

Putin went on to say that the US had named Russia its enemy and vouched to support certain political organizations in Russia. Such organizations must and will be labeled as "foreign agents," Putin said, adding that this does not mean they have to stop their activities.

Russia, US can exchange prisoners

The US president also suggested that the two countries exchange prisoners, Putin said, suggesting the possibility of compromise as Moscow wants to secure the return of some of its nationals jailed in the US.

The foreign services of the two countries will work out the question and present their considerations, he said.

Putin implied that there had been no breakthroughs in the talks but that hope remains to improve ties between the two countries, saying: "There is no happiness in the life, only glimpses of it."

"The meeting was productive, substantive and concrete and took place in an atmosphere that was set up for results with, as I said, glimpses of trust," he added.

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