Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked to defend his handling of political adversaries by a US journalist on Wednesday following the joint summit with Joe Biden.
Rachel Scott, a congressional correspondent for ABC News, asked Putin “what are you so afraid of?” regarding his opposition to protests in Moscow and the persecution of Alexei Navalny, who is currently in prison.
Ms Scott referred to Nalvany’s group, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which Mr Putin described as calling for “mass disorder” in Russia.
which in his answer to the question, Mr Putin said they were calling for “mass disorder” in Russia.
Continuing to answer Ms Scott’s question, Putin said, “The organisation you mentioned have publicly called for mass disorder. They have publicly called for breaking the law, called for minors to participate in activities that are against the law,”
Ms Scott’s question was posed as a follow up to her query about how Biden discussed Russian cyberattacks on US.
Putin went on to compare the protests political dissidents in his country to last summer’s widespread racial justice protests.
“A whole entire movement developed called Black Lives Matter. I’m not going to comment on that. But here’s what I do want to say: what we saw was disorder, destruction, abolitions of the law,” Mr Putin said of the protests that largely sought to bring justice for the murder of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, causing him to suffocate.
”But we feel sympathy for the United States of America, but we don’t want that to happen on our territory, and we are doing our utmost to not allow it to happen,” Mr Putin said.
He said that Navalny’s group wanted to “restrain the development of Russia”.
Mr Putin took questions following the summit in Geneva, the first meeting of theirs since Mr Biden took up residence in the White House. Before the summit, both leaders admitted that relations were at an all-time low.
Putin, in an exclusive interview with NBC, said that Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump is “an extraordinary individual, talented individual” but that he could work with Mr Biden despite the Russian leader’s prediction “there will not be any impulse-based movements”.
A contributing factor to this is the series of cyberattacks that security officials have originated from Russia. Additionally, Biden’s continued commitment to Ukraine, a country that Russia invaded in 2014, also enables tension. The Pentagon just agreed to give an additional $125 million to help defend their borders.
Prior to their meeting, Biden had addressed his desire to discuss Putin’s human rights record, which he said he followed through on.
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