Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a penchant for “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric,” according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian leader made the remarks Wednesday on state television, where he, once again, denied that his country meddled in the 2016 presidential election and vowed to work with whoever wins the 2020 election, according to Reuters.
“As far as the candidate from the Democratic Party is concerned … we also see quite sharp anti-Russian rhetoric. Unfortunately, we are used to this,” Putin said of Biden.
Despite his criticism, Putin did note that he was encouraged by Biden’s remarks about the New START treaty, a nuclear arms treaty between the two countries that has a February expiration date. Biden’s campaign website vows that he will work to extend the treaty if elected and calls New START “an anchor of strategic stability between the United States and Russia.”
“Candidate Biden publicly said he was ready for an extension of New START or to reach a new treaty to limit strategic … weapons, and this is a very serious element of our cooperation in the future,” Putin said.
The United States and Russia have thus far failed to extend the treaty or craft a new one, although Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, President Trump’s special envoy for arms control, said Tuesday that “ important progress” is being made.
Putin also praised Trump on Wednesday for expressing hope for closer ties to Moscow.
“From the very beginning, in the first iteration of the struggle for the White House, he talked about this, we, of course, paid attention to this,” Putin said. “But, of course, the intentions that President Trump spoke about earlier have not been fully realized.”
U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Russia did meddle in the 2016 presidential election and poses a threat to the 2020 election. A U.S. intelligence community assessment released in August assessed that in the upcoming election, Russia primarily seeks to damage Biden’s chances against Trump. Putin denied any claims of election interference.
“We are bystanders, we do not interfere,” Putin said. “This is still not our business, let them sort it out among themselves as they see fit in the context of the current events. We will work with any future president of the United States.”
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