REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sunday that "autocrat" Vladimir Putin was right to say that relations were at their lowest point in years though he suggested that Russia might be weaker than it seemed and that Moscow had overreached in the Middle East.

That's according to Reuters.

Asked why Putin, who has served as Russia's paramount leader since Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, had not changed despite years of Western sanctions, Biden quipped: "He's Vladimir Putin."

"Autocrats have enormous power and they don't have to answer to a public and the fact is that it may very well be if I respond in kind, as I will, that it doesn't dissuade him – he wants to keep going," Biden said of Putin.

Read alsoPending meeting with Biden, Putin wants "direct dialogue" with U.S.Biden, though, depicted Russia – whose economy is 13 times smaller than the United States – as weaker than it might be perceived.

"Russia has its own dilemmas, dealing with its economy, dealing with COVID and dealing with not only the United States and Europe writ large, and in the Middle East," he said.

"Russia has engaged in activities which we believe are contrary to international norms, but they have also bitten off some real problems, that they're going to have trouble chewing on," Biden said.

Biden cited Syria as a case in point and an area in which the two powers could work together to find "an accommodation."

Biden said Putin was right that relations were at a low.

"He's right it's a low point," Biden said.

Biden-Putin summit

  • The Geneva summit is scheduled for June 16, 2021.
  • On June 6, 2021, Biden spoke about his stance pending a meeting with Putin. Biden noted that friends, partners, and allies of the U.S. see the world from the same perspective as the United States, and that Washington is united with them all in responding to Russia's challenges to European security, starting with its aggression in Ukraine.
  • He assured that the United States would resolutely defend democratic values and its own national interests.
  • Biden also stressed that the United States does not want conflict with the Russian Federation, but "seeks to restore predictability and stability to the U.S.-Russia relationship," working along with Russia on matters of strategic stability and arms control.
  • NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana expects President Biden to raise at a meeting with Putin the issue of Russia's aggressive actions in the world, strategic arms control, and the topic of climate change.