Russian President Vladimir Putin
dismissed Joe Biden
's claim that he is a "killer" just days before their scheduled meeting.
Keir Simmons noted in an interview
with NBC News
, excerpts of which were published Friday, that Biden was asked earlier this year if he thought Putin was a "killer," and Biden responded, "I do."
Simmons then directly asked Putin if this is true, to which Putin responded, "Over my tenure
, I've gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas, under all kinds of pretext and reasons, and of varying caliber and fierceness, and none of it surprises me."
Simmons pressed further, naming Putin's political opponents who had been killed, and Putin responded: "Look, you know, I don't want to come across as rude, but this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it's verbal indigestion. You've mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at various points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals."
irSimmons asks Vladimir Putin if he's a serial killer pic.twitter.com/vlI1D9UlKC — Lauren Peikoff (@laurenpeikoff) June 11, 2021
A number of Putin critics have been killed, poisoned, or died in mysterious circumstances over the years, including the 2018 poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England
in a daring attack on foreign soil.
In the NBC interview, Simmons asked Putin to compare Biden to former President Donald Trump
, whom critics accused of being soft on Russia. Putin responded by calling Trump “talented” and “a colorful individual.”
Putin described Biden as a "career man" who has "spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics
“It is my great hope that, while there will be some advantages and disadvantages, there will be no impulsive movements on behalf of the sitting US president,” Putin said.
In the midst of rising tensions between the two countries, Biden and Putin are expected to meet in person on June 16 at a summit in Geneva.
The Biden administration
sanctioned Russia in response to the Russian government's alleged interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, as well as its alleged role in the SolarWinds cyberattack
, in which hackers
gained access to the data of several U.S. agencies and dozens of private companies. The Biden administration also criticized Russia for allegedly poisoning opposition leader Alexei N.
Just weeks after taking office, Biden stated in a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States
would not “roll over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions, interfering with our elections
, cyber-attacks, and poisoning citizens.”
Trump was frequently chastised for being too close to Putin, despite the fact that US intelligence agencies confirmed Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in order to help Trump win.
Biden is currently in the United Kingdom
for a meeting with the leaders of the Group of Seven, which includes the United States' allies Canada
, and the United Kingdom.