President Vladimir Putin dismissed accusations that Russia was behind cyberattacks in opposition to the USA as “farcical” in an interview with NBC broadcast on Monday forward of his summit with President Joe Biden.
The Russian chief additionally mentioned he was open to a jail swap with the USA – the destiny of prisoners is ready to be on the agenda when the 2 meet in Geneva on Wednesday – and mentioned that jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny would “not be handled any worse than anyone else.”
US President Biden will attend the summit after per week of assembly allies from the G7, European Union and NATO, with tensions between Moscow and Washington at their highest in years over a protracted checklist of disputes.
Requested if Russia was waging a “cyber battle” in opposition to the USA, Putin mentioned: “The place is proof? It is changing into farcical.”
“Now we have been accused of all types of issues, election interference, cyberattacks and so forth and so forth, and never as soon as, not one time, did they trouble to provide any type of proof or proof, simply unfounded accusations.”
US corporations, together with a serious gasoline pipeline community, have been hit by cyberattacks in current months, typically forcing short-term shutdowns till ransoms are paid.
Any negotiations over prisoners would concentrate on people together with former US marine Paul Whelan who was jailed for 16 years by Russia for espionage. Whelan has urged Biden to rearrange a prisoner alternate and mentioned in a current interview he was sufferer of hostage diplomacy.
One other US citizen, Trevor Reed, was sentenced to 9 years in jail in 2020 on fees of assaulting Russian law enforcement officials whereas drunk.
Moscow could possibly be eyeing the return of the infamous Russian arms vendor imprisoned by the USA, Viktor Bout, and a contract pilot and alleged drug trafficker, Konstantin Yaroshenko.
However the White Home moved to shortly tamp down discuss of an alternate of “cyber criminals” after Biden appeared open to the thought when talking at a press convention after the G7 assembly in Britain.
“He isn’t saying he will be exchanging cyber criminals with Russia,” Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned.
“What he was speaking about was accountability and the concept accountable international locations needs to be held accountable… not harboring cyber criminals, and to bringing cyber criminals to justice.”
When requested about Navalny and accusations of brutal crushing of dissent in Russia, Putin mentioned “you might be presenting it as dissent and intolerance in direction of dissent in Russia… we view it utterly in another way.”
Putin referred to as for “predictability and stability” in Russian-US relations, saying it was “one thing we’ve not seen in recent times” – whereas additionally describing former president Donald Trump as “colourful” and a “proficient particular person.”