Putin says 'there is no happiness in life' after his meeting with Biden
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden shake hands ahead of a US-Russia summit on June 16, 2021 at Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted a dark tone after his private conversations with Biden.
He described the talks as "productive" but blamed the US for the conflicting relationship between the US and Russia.
"There is no happiness in life," said Putin. "Only a mirage can be seen on the horizon."
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken darkly during his long, rambling press conference after nearly four hours of talks with President Joe Biden on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
When asked whether the meeting helped build trust between the leaders, Putin became philosophical.
"There is no happiness in life," said Putin. "There's only one mirage on the horizon so we'll appreciate that."
He added, "But I think there is a glimmer of hope in [Biden's] eyes."
The Russian leader told reporters it was "hard to tell" whether the meeting would change relations between the two countries, blaming the US for the contrary nature of the relationship. But Putin called Biden a "balanced and professional man" and said their discussions were "productive".
"Anything to do with the deterioration of our mutual relations was not initiated by us, but by the United States," he said.
Putin is a former KGB agent who ruled Russia for 20 years and is said to have become a billionaire during that time; Some suspect he is one of the richest people in the world. Certainly, his alleged fondness for expensive watches, yachts, and fleets of planes would be out of reach for most Russians, who earn an average monthly wage of around 51,100 rubles, or $ 700.
Putin spent much of the press conference fending off criticism of Russia for its remarkable crackdown on dissent and the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny.
The Russian leader justified the Kremlin's efforts to crush opponents by demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement and comparing it to the US government's prosecution of individuals involved in the January 6 uprising.
When asked about these remarks later during a separate solo press conference, Biden said, "This is a ridiculous comparison."
Both heads of state and government generally portrayed the talks as a first, humble step to move forward on a narrow range of issues that the US and Russia could possibly see on an equal footing - with strategic stability (nuclear arms control) at the top the list .
But they also made it clear that the summit was by no means a complete reorganization of US-Russian relations.
Putin said Biden did not use the meeting as an opportunity to invite him to the White House, while Biden said he was "not confident" that the Kremlin would drastically change its behavior.
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46th President of the United States
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