Vladimir Putin says Russia-US relations ‘at lowest point in recent years’, praises ‘extraordinary’ Donald Trump

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has revealed relations with the US are in a rut with President Joe Biden in office, comparing the new Commander-in-Chief to the outgoing Donald Trump.

In an address leading up to the pair’s anticipated face-to-face in Geneva, Putin admitted the bilateral relationship between Russia and the US “has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years”.

Tensions between the two nations ran high this month after the Pentagon announced it would be sending an A$150 million ($162m) military aid package to the Ukraine.

The world was again reminded of Russia’s ongoing battle over disputed territory when satellite images of Russian military building up on the Ukraine border were released in April. Footage of hundreds of Russian tanks fuelled speculation over another push from the superpower to claim land along the eastern border.

With Biden now in Europe on an eight-day visit to discuss relations with international leaders, all eyes are on how the US President will deal with his recent qualms with the Russian commander.

Biden recently labelled Putin a “killer” when prompted in an interview with US ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, following the poisoning of Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny in March.

Biden previously claimed Putin “had no soul”, revealing the controversial leader would “pay a price shortly”. The US Commerce Department retaliated to the poisoning of Navalny by toughening export restrictions.

In a new interview with US network NBC, Putin spoke candidly about his opinions of the two most recent presidents, labelling the billionaire Trump “an extraordinary and talented individual” who is “radically different” to his “career man” successor Biden.

“He (Trump) is a colourful individual. You may like him or not. But he didn’t come from the US establishment, he had not been part of big time politics before, and some like it, some don’t like it but that is a fact,” Putin said.

“(Biden) has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics … That’s a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting US president.”

Trump sarcastically wished Biden luck for his upcoming meeting with Putin in an email statement released on Saturday.

“Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin — don’t fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!” the former President said before applauding his own diplomatic relations with the superpower.

Trump said the “Russian hacker” narrative pushed by Democrats in the 2016 election presented problems when dealing with Putin, but praised himself for overcoming the diplomatic hurdle.

“As president, I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Putin of Russia,” he continued. “Despite the belated fake news portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia.”

“Because of the ‘phony Russia, Russia, Russia hoax’ made-up and paid for by the Democrats and crooked Hillary Clinton, the United States was put at a disadvantage — a disadvantage that was nevertheless overcome by me.”

Putin shrugs off ‘attacks’ from the West

Putin remained stoic when probed about Biden’s comments, shrugging off the ongoing fear campaign against his rule as mere static and was “an overall expression of US culture”.

Putin appeared to take the angle the US was merely sensationalising alleged crimes by the Russian state to sell media.

When Keir Simmons bluntly asked him if he ever had a hand in assassinating political rivals, Putin let out an eyebrow-raising chuckle.

“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 different calibre and fierceness, and none of it surprises me,” Putin said in the recent NBC News interview.

“So as far as harsh rhetoric I think this is an overall expression of US culture. Of course in Hollywood, there are some underlying deep things in Hollywood – macho, which can be treated as cinematic art. But that’s part of US political culture, it’s considered normal.”

When Simmons objected that he hadn’t heard Putin answer his direct question: “Are you a killer?” the Russian leader responded:

“I did answer, I did answer. I will add if you let me. I’ve heard dozens of such accusations, especially during the period of some grave events during our counter-terrorism efforts in North Caucasus,” he said.

“And, when that happens, I’m always guided by the interests of the Russian people and Russian state, and sentiments in terms of who calls somebody what and what kind of labels, this is not something I worry about in the least.”

US announces nine-figure military aid package for Ukraine

The US Defence department said the nine-figure stimulus was part of the Ukraine security assistance initiative established in 2016, which “includes capabilities to enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness of Ukraine’s forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment”.

The US will also be providing “training and equipment to improve the operational safety and capacity of Ukrainian Air Force bases”.

Ruslan Leviev, an open source analyst with Conflict Intelligence Team, described the build-up as “the greatest concentration of Russian armed forces since 2014”.

Russian media has remained highly critical of intervention from the West throughout the conflict. Editor-in-chief of state-backed news network RT, Margarita Simonyan, described war with Ukraine as “inevitable”, claiming Russia could defeat its neighbour in two days “in conventional war”.

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