Putin sends a mixed message on US election, hedging his bets

Russian President Vladimir Putin is decrying what he called Joe Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric” but praising the Democratic presidential nominee’s comments on arms control

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday decried what he called Joe Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric” but praised the Democratic presidential nominee’s comments on arms control.

He said Biden’s reference to Trump in last week’s debate as “Putin’s puppy” was in fact a compliment to Russia and “actually enhances our prestige, because they are talking about our incredible influence and power.”

Biden has been critical of Russia throughout the campaign and dating back to his time as vice president, and the Kremlin leader took note of his “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric,” saying it was something “we regrettably have grown accustomed to.”

But Putin also praised Biden for declaring an intention to extend the New START arms control treaty that expires in February. The U.S.-Russian talks on extending the pact have produced no visible progress, and Russian diplomats said that chances for making a deal with the Trump administration look slim.

“This is a very serious element of our potential collaboration in the future,” Putin said, speaking on his 68th birthday. He added that Russia would be ready to work with any future U.S. president.

source.

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