After a meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both leaders held their own press conferences. Putin spoke to the issues of cybersecurity, Ukrainian sovereignty, and relations between the two nations.
Putin used the opportunity to deflect his own nation's human rights offenses and to say that the way the US has behaved with Guantanamo Bay, "CIA prisons... which excise torture," and the hundreds of arrests of Biden's political opponents who engaged in the Capitol riot are not exemplary of a stellar human rights record.
"You remember that his predecessor had a different view," Putin said.
"In principle, everything that happens in our countries, one way or another, is the responsibility of the leaders themselves who—look at the streets of America, every day there are shootings and killings. You don't have time to open your mouth and you're shot dead," Putin said, bringing up violent crimes in the US that have splashed across headlines over the past year. He also spoke to the violence in the Middle East, and the US's responsibility for that.
In response to a question about Putin's political opponents, specifically Alexei Navalny, the jailing of other political leaders, and the issue of corruption and free and fair elections in the nation, Putin responded by pointing a finger at what he sees as the Biden administration's human rights abuses.
"Let me repeat what I said about so-called foreign agents and the people who say that they are part of the unauthorized opposition. I've already spoken to your colleagues. Now I have to repeat that to you," he said.
"The US has passed a law that said that the US would particularly favor individual organizations in Russia and at the same time they declared the Russian Federation as an enemy. They publicly declared that they would try to contain Russia. My question is which organizations, which political organizations are going to be supported by the US, especially if they pay them," Putin said.
He said that his government was opposed to Navalny's political group because it "called for public demonstrations" and for "minors to take part in political demonstrations." He said they were being manipulated against law enforcement.
"America, most recently, has had to deal with terrible events," Putin said. "After the murder of, the killing of the African American and Black Lives Matter ensued, I don't want to make any judgement against that, but what we saw, mass violations of the law... we sympathize with the Americans but we do not wish that this kind of thing happens on our territory, and we will do our utmost to prevent it."
After a follow-up, Putin said "people rioted and went into the congress with political demands, and many people were declared as criminals and they are threatened with imprisonment from 20 to 25 years. And these people were immediately arrested after those events. On what grounds, we don't know always."
He said that the charges against the Capitol rioters have not been made transparent. "One of them was just shot on the spot, and unarmed, as well," Putin said, referring to Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by Capitol Police on Jan. 6.
"Many countries are going through exactly what we're going through," Putin said.