On June 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Geneva. After about two hours of “constructive” talks, Putin gave a press conference where he told journalists that U.S. and Russian ambassadors will return to their posts and the two countries will hold consultations on cybersecurity. He also fielded questions about jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny (without mentioning his name) and commented on violence perpetrated in the United States. Here’s what Putin had to say, in a nutshell.
The conversation was constructive, there wasn’t any hostility. We agreed that the ambassadors will return to Moscow and Washington. We agreed to begin consultations on cybersecurity — but, incidentally, there are more cyberattacks from the United States than from Russia. We discussed Ukraine; Biden understood that the Minsk Agreements should be at the heart of the settlement. We conduct drills on our own territory — unlike the United States, we don’t drag military equipment to their borders. We touched upon the topic of Navalny — this man ignored the law and consciously returned to Russia in order to be detained. The Anti-Corruption Foundation incited mass riots and publicly gave instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails, so they are extremists. In the United States, the people who went into the Congress were declared terrorists. Yes, Biden called me a “killer,” well so what? In the United States people are killed every day, what about Guantanamo? I don’t need to look into Biden’s eyes and soul, we have a pragmatic dialogue.
This is a rough summary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments from the press conference in Geneva. Phrases in the first person aren’t necessarily verbatim quotes.
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Translation by Eilish Hart