Biden warned Putin opposition leader Navalny’s death would be ‘devastating for Russia’
President Joe Biden said he delivered a warning directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their historic summit in Geneva over what would happen if the top opposition leader of the Russian president, Alexei Navalny, dies in prison.
“I made it clear to him that the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Biden told reporters Wednesday.
Biden defended his stance regarding Navalny, saying that standing up for human rights “is part of the DNA of our country.”
“It’s who we are,” he said of the United States.
Despite the tough conversations during a two-and-a-half-hour summit, Biden said “no threats” were issued, adding that foreign policy is essentially “the logical extension of relationships.” Biden’s description echoed that of Putin, who called the talks “constructive.”
“I must tell you, the tone of the entire meeting — I guess it was four hours — was good, positive,” he said, overstating the length. “It wasn’t done in a hyperbolic atmosphere.”
Biden issued Putin a list of 16 types of critical infrastructure that he considers “off-limits” to cyberattacks. Any hacks of entities covered by the list would result in action, he advised, without specifying what kind of retaliation he might order.
Later, Biden was asked if he and Putin discussed military action in response to further cyber strikes. It didn’t come up, he said.
“We need to have some basic rules of the road that we all need to abide by,” Biden said.