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politico – Biden offers some flattery to Putin ahead of high-level meeting

The president also stuck to the message he has been relaying for days. He said he aimed to find areas of cooperation with Putin, while noting that if he acts “as it has done in the past,” the United States will respond.

“I met him. He’s brilliant. He’s tough, ”Biden said. “And I found him to be, as they used to say when I played ball, a worthy opponent.”

Biden and Putin will meet in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday before Biden gives his own press conferences after the meeting. The White House saw the timing of the meeting as an opportunity for Biden to listen to the concerns of U.S. allies in NATO and the European Union ahead of the one-on-one.

Biden told a press conference on Sunday that he agreed with Putin’s recent assessment that US-Russian relations were at a “low point.”

Reporters asked him on Monday about another segment of Putin’s NBC interview, in which the Russian president was asked about Biden’s assessment that he is a killer. Putin laughed.

And when Biden was asked on Monday if he still thinks Putin was a killer, he also laughed.

“Well look, he made it clear that – the answer is, I believe he’s, in the past, basically acknowledged that he was, there were certain things he would do or he had. made. But look, when I was asked that question on the air, I answered it honestly, ”Biden said.

“But I don’t think that matters much in terms of this next meeting we’re going to have.”

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