“We have a bilateral relationship which has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin told NBC News in an interview that aired Friday with an English translation of his remarks.
Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva next week and Biden, upon arriving in the UK for his first trip abroad as president on Wednesday, warned Putin that he would send him a clear message when they meet.
“We are not looking to come into conflict with Russia,” Biden said. “We want a stable and predictable relationship… but I have been clear: the United States will respond in a strong and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.
The leaders’ first in-person meeting comes as relations between Washington and Moscow are strained over several issues, including alleged Russian cyber attacks on the United States and the detention of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
Praise to Trump
In the NBC interview, Putin hailed former President Donald Trump as “an extraordinary, talented individual,” and called Biden “radically different.”
“Well, even now I think former US President Mr. Trump is an amazing, talented individual, otherwise he wouldn’t have become President of the United States,” Putin said.
“He’s a colorful individual. You may like it or not. And, but he wasn’t from the American establishment, he had never been in big politics before, and some like him, some don’t like him, but it’s a fact.
Putin added that Biden “is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent most of his adult life in politics.
“He’s a different type of person, and I sincerely hope there are pros, cons, but there will be no impulsive moves on behalf of the incumbent US president. “
U.S. officials see next week’s face-to-face meeting between Putin and Biden as an opportunity to hijack the relationship from what they see as former President Trump’s complacent overtures to Putin.
Russian officials told Reuters news agency they viewed the summit as an opportunity to hear from Biden directly after what a source close to the Russian government said were mixed messages from the U.S. administration who took his duties on January 20.
Asked by NBC whether Biden called him a killer in an interview in March, Putin said he heard dozens of such accusations. “It’s not something that worries me in the least,” Putin said.