President Joe Biden spoke at a press conference after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing questions as to what the two men discussed, and what penalties there might be for incursions on US sovereignty.
When he spoke about the Arctic, however, he risked calling Putin "President Trump."
Biden said that it is essential that the US president speak out in favor of American values and human rights, and that "it's not just about going after Russia when the violate human rights, but it's about who we are."
Biden reiterated that we're "a product of an idea," and that "we don't derive our rights from the government," but are born with them, and only "yield them to a government."
He spoke about the abuses against Putin's political opponent Alexei Navalny. Biden said that if Navalny dies that would speak badly to Russian credibility.
As to the potential for Russian interference in American elections, Biden said that would not be tolerated.
Biden said that they discussed strategic stability and to "try to set up a mechanism" where it could be dealt with. He said that certain infrastructure should be off limits to attack, and cited 16 critical infrastructure areas, from energy to water resources, that should not be subjected to cyber attacks.
Biden said that he made Ukrainian sovereignty a primary component of diplomacy.
"I did what I came to do," he said, identifying areas of practical work where the two nations can work together. Secondly, to "communicate directly" in areas that are integral to US national interests, and thirdly, he said, to emphasize US priorities and values.
He said it was a positive four hour meeting, and said again that America is back, and that the US has rallied with allies, and sorted how to deal with the Russia US relationship.
"Folks, look, this is about how we move from here. I listened to a significant portion of President Putin's press conference... This is about practical straightforward no nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make. We'll find out in the next six months to a year whether we actually have a strategic dialogue," he said.
He spoke to the issue of political prisoners in Russia, as well as cybersecurity and ransomware. Biden said he asked Putin "how would you feel if ransomware took down the pipelines from your oil fields? He said 'it would matter.' This is not just about our self-interest, it's about a mutual self-interest."
Biden took questions from a list of approved reporters.
The AP asked about Russia's alleged interference in US elections, and asked Biden to differentiate himself from Trump's lack of action in that realm. "Whether I stop it from happening again, [Putin] knows I will take action. We did this last time out," he said.
"We made it clear that we were not going to allow this to go on. The end result was we ended up withdrawing ambassadors, we closed down some of their facilities in the United States, and he knows there are consequences. And look, one of the consequences… I suspect you all think doesn't matter, but I'm confident matters to him and to other world leaders: His credibility worldwide shrinks."
"Look, would you like to trade our economy for Russia's economy?" He asked, saying that "it's in our interest for the Russian people to do well," but that they must "act in accordance with international norms."
Biden was asked about the potential reemergence of a cold war between the two nations, and the potential penalties for interference in the 16 infrastructure areas that they agreed should be protected. Biden said Putin doesn't want a new cold war, especially given the rise of China on the world stage. He said the two men did not have a "kumbaya moment."
He said that they didn't have a longer meeting because basically they took the time they needed to cover what they needed. They each did a summary of what had been covered, and then discussed them with their respective secretaries in the room.
"What is going to happen next," he said, "is we're going to be able to look back, look ahead, in three to six months, and say did the things we agree to sit down and try to work out, did it work? Are we closer to a major strategic stability on talks and progress? Are we further along on down the line? That's going to be the test.
"I'm not going to sit here and say because the president and I agreed that we would do these things that all of sudden it's going to work. I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is there's a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without giving up a single solitary thing based on our principles and values."
"There were no threats, just simple assertions made," he said, saying he warned that if "there were violations of American sovereignty, what we would do."
PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked about cybersecurity, and Biden said that "are we going to take action on ransomware criminals on Russian territory? They didn't do it, and I don't think they planned it in this case. And are they gonna act? We're gonna find out."
Alcindor asked about Putin's statements regarding the imprisonment of Capitol rioters and the lawlessness of Black Lives Matter rioters. "What's your response to that, please?"
Biden laughed. "My response is kind of what I communicated, that I think that's a ridiculous comparison. It's one thing for literally criminals to break through cordoned, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable, than it is for people objecting to marching on the Capitol, saying 'you re not allowing me to speak freely, you are not allowing me to do ABC or D, so they are very different criteria."
As he was leaving the podium, he took a few more questions from reporters, but snapped at a reporter who asked about his confidence in the negotiations made with Putin. He said "I'm not confident, what the hell do you all the time..." The reporter was likely not on the approved list.