Putin says relations with US at lowest point in years

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with NBC News before meeting with US President Joe Biden next week, said US-Russia relations were at an all-time low.

    Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The White House said Biden would provoke ransomware attacks from Russia, Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues that have plagued the relationship.

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    “We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin was quoted as saying by NBC.

    Putin praised former President Donald Trump as an “extraordinary, talented man” and said Biden, as a career politician, was “radically different” from Trump.

    Asked about Biden calling him a murderer in an interview in March, Putin said he had heard dozens of such accusations. “This does not bother me less,” Putin said.

    “We are not seeking a conflict with Russia,” Biden said at the start of an eight-day visit to Europe this week.

    “We want a stable and predictable relationship … but I was clear: The United States will respond in a strong and effective way if the Russian government takes harmful action.”

    Putin was questioned about several Russian dissidents blamed for his deaths in Moscow, including former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in 2006. Putin dismissed the question as “verbal indigestion.” He said some of those responsible for the deaths were in prison.

    On the issue of recent ransomware attacks by the United States in Russia, Putin denied any knowledge of the piracy and called on Biden to reach an agreement with him in cyberspace, NBC News reported.

    Putin also rejected a report in the Washington Post this week that Russia was preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite that would allow it to monitor possible military targets across the Middle East. “This is just fake news. At least I do not know anything about it,” Putin was quoted as saying by NBC News. “It’s just rubbish nonsense.”

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