The most memorable and bizarre lines from Putin’s whirlwind press conference after meeting with Biden

Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Putin held a lengthy press conference after his historic summit with Biden.
  • The Russian president downplayed the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent and got philosophical at times.
  • Putin called the talks “quite constructive,” though there were evident disagreements.
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President Joe Biden on Wednesday met with longtime Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Geneva Summit for the first time since taking office in January.

The meeting was a highly anticipated face off between the two men in a foreign policy landscape dominated by questions about cybersecurity, the conflict in Ukraine, the imprisonment of Putin critic Alexei Navalny, and an escalating diplomatic tit-for-tat between Washington and Moscow.

After the meeting with Biden, Putin called the talks “quite constructive.” But there are still lingering questions surrounding how the two countries address their most difficult challenges.

“Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions,” Putin told reporters.

Here are some of the most memorable moments from the historic meeting:

Putin praised Biden’s ‘values’

Putin remarked on Biden’s character, a significant revelation that could diffuse some tension between the two leaders going forward.

“It’s obviously clear that he’s very experienced,” he said of Biden. “He talked a bit about his family and what his mother told him. They are important things, and maybe they’re not quite relevant, but it does talk about the level of his moral values, which is very attractive.”

Putin waxed philosophical when asked about the future of US-Russia relations

“There’s no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon, so we’ll cherish that,” Putin said.

The Russian leader, who’s been in power for 20 years, also said “everything to do with the deterioration of our mutual relations was initiated” by the US and not Russia.

Putin downplayed the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and crackdown on dissent

Putin rejected any sort of criticism over his treatment of Alexei Navalny and other government critics by demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

America just recently had very severe events after well-known events, after a killing of an African American and an entire movement developed known as Black Lives Matter,” he said. “What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etcetera. We feel sympathy for the United States of America, but we don’t want that to happen on our territory, and we’re doing our utmost in order to not allow it to happen.”

In response to Biden’s remark from earlier this year that Putin was a “killer,” Putin said that the danger actually exists in the US.

“Look at American streets, Putin said. “People are getting killed there … you can get a bullet in the neck.”

Putin also compared the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent to the US government’s prosecution of people involved in the January 6 insurrection.

As for who is killing whom or are throwing whom in jail, people came to the U.S. Congress with political demands,” Putin said. “Over 400 people had criminal charges placed on them. They face prison sentences of up to 28, maybe even 25 years. They’re being called domestic terrorists.”