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    US-Russia relationship ‘deteriorated to its lowest point’ in years: Putin

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Washington-Moscow relationship has “deteriorated to its lowest point” over the past years.

    He made the remarks Friday ahead of a meeting with his American counterpart Joe Biden in the Swiss city of Geneva on June 16, the first face-to-face summit between the two presidents since Biden came to office in January.

    The upcoming meeting aimed at resolving US-Russia’s differences comes after a month of deliberations on both sides over its timing and location.

    “We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” Putin told NBC News in an interview broadcast late on Friday.

    Asked about making a comparison between the US incumbent and former president Donald Trump, Putin commended the latter for his attitude and said he was someone who did not come from the standard US political establishment.

    As for Biden, the Russian president hailed him as a “career man” and expressed hope that the meeting would be fruitful as the incumbent is “radically different” from Trump.

    Biden first proposed the summit in April, saying he would like to meet with Putin during his trip to Europe in June in a third country to discuss rising tensions between the two countries.

    Moscow has said it has “significant differences” with Washington in how it views world affairs but is ready to discuss contentious issues with the US based on honesty and mutual respect.

    Putin’s last meeting with a US president was with Trump in Helsinki in 2018.

    Biden said at the start of an eight-day visit to Europe this week that, “We’re not seeking conflict with Russia.”

    “We want a stable and predictable relationship … but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”

    The US has imposed waves of sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, alleged meddling in the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections, and the recent jailing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

    Relations between the two countries hit a new low in March after Biden, in an interview, called Putin a “killer” and said the Russian president would have to “pay a price” for what he alleged was interference in the 2020 US presidential election. Moscow has denied such allegations.

    More recently, tensions escalated between the two sides over the Russian-speaking Donbass region of Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces have been fighting since 2014.

    Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.

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