MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had noted what he called harsh anti-Russian rhetoric from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but that he had been encouraged by Biden’s comments on arms control.
Putin made the comments during an appearance on state television channel Rossiya-24 on his birthday. He turned 68 on Wednesday.
Biden is campaigning against Republican incumbent Donald Trump for the presidential election on Nov. 3.
“As far as the candidate from the Democratic Party is concerned ... we also see quite sharp anti-Russian rhetoric. Unfortunately, we are used to to this,” Putin said.
But he added that Biden had made what he regarded as encouraging statements on New START, the last major nuclear arms pact between Russia and the United States, which is due to expire in February.
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Moscow and Washington have so far been unable to agree a new treaty or an extension, though Trump’s envoy for arms control said on Tuesday that “important progress” had been made at bilateral talks.
“Candidate Biden publicly said he was ready for an extension of New START or to reach a new treaty to limit strategic ... weapons, and this is a very serious element of our cooperation in the future,” Putin said.
Putin added that Russia will work with any future president of the United States.
Last month, current and former intelligence officials told NBC News that the CIA assessed in late August that Putin and other top Russian officials are "probably" directing a Russian operation to intervene in the election by discrediting Biden.
In July, Biden said Russia was again working to interfere in a U.S. election, citing briefings he has received on the issue, and expressed concern about foreign efforts to sow doubt about the outcome.