UPDATE 1-Putin on successor: Ready to support critic if he is true to Russia
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MOSCOW, June 14 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has told NBC that when asked about plans for a successor, he is ready to support someone loyal to the country, even if he is Is critical of presidents.
"When I see a person, even if they criticize some of my activities, but I see that the person ... is loyal to the country ... whatever their attitude towards me, I would do anything to make it so support people, "the Kremlin website quoted Putin as saying.
Putin has dominated Russian politics since 2000. In April, he signed a law that could keep him in office in the Kremlin until 2036, when he was 83 years old.
Putin interviewed NBC ahead of his first meeting with Joe Biden as US President this week in Geneva, at a time of worst tension in Russia-US relations since the Cold War era.
"President Biden is fundamentally different from (former US President Donald) Trump because he is a career man, he has spent almost all of his adult life in politics," Putin said, according to an interview transcript published by the Kremlin.
"My great hope is that ... there would be no impulsive steps by the (current) president, that we should adhere to certain rules of communication, that we could agree on something," added Putin.
The NBC TV team had to be quarantined for two weeks before meeting Putin because of the coronavirus pandemic, journalist Keir Simmons told the Russian leader during the interview.
Biden, who called Putin a "murderer" in March, said on Sunday that some of Russia's activities contradicted international norms. Washington said Russian authorities or Russian hacking groups were behind the recent cyberattacks on companies working in the United States.
When asked whether Russia was waging a cyber war against the US, Putin replied: “Where is the evidence? I can answer such unproven allegations: you can complain to the International League for Sexual Reform.
The imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is likely to be controversial at the Putin-Biden summit.
Putin again avoided naming the opposition leader and gave no direct answer to the question of whether he could promise Navalny would leave prison alive.
"I assume that the same measures will apply to the person you have named, but not in any way worse than to anyone who happens to be in prison," Putin said. (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, editing by Mark Heinrich)
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