American leader Joe Biden agreed with the assessment of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that relations between the two countries are at the lowest level in recent years but noted that he is not looking for a conflict with Moscow.
Earlier, Putin gave his assessment of bilateral relations in an interview with the American TV channel NBC on the eve of the summit with the head of the White House.
“I think he (Vladimir Putin) is right that they (relations) are at a low point. … We are not looking for conflict. We want to resolve the issue of actions that we believe do not comply with international norms,” Biden said, stressing that he intends to speak directly with Putin about the conditions under which relations between Russia and the United States can improve.
At the same time, Biden admitted that he could not talk about a possible change in Russia’s position.
“There is no guarantee that I will be able to change the behavior of a person or the behavior of a country. The autocrats have a lot of power, they don’t have to answer to society, and it may very well happen that if I answer (Putin) properly, which I will do, it will not convince him, and he will continue in the same spirit,” the American leader said.
Biden noted that Russia and the United States can cooperate on many issues, including Libya and Syria. He also drew attention to the fact that Washington is always ready to punish criminals who can act from the United States territory against Russia, and he expects the same from Moscow.
“Yes, if there are crimes committed against Russia, and if the people who commit them are hiding in the United States, I intend to bring them to justice,” Biden assured. Speaking about the decision not to hold a joint final press conference with the Russian leader, the head of the White House said that this is not a contest, “who will perform better in front of journalists.” He emphasized that he intends to “clearly outline” the conditions for improving relations with Russia at the press conference.