U.S. President Joe Biden discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin several sensitive topics at a summit in Geneva. Biden said Thursday that he confronted Putin about the alleged human rights violations by his government, including the imprisonment and attempted assassination of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
Biden said he also warned Putin to do more to prevent Russian-based cyberattacks on American companies and government infrastructure. He said he gave Putin a list of "critical infrastructure" that are "off-limits" to Russian cyberattacks. Biden said if the attacks continue, the country is prepared to respond "in a cyber-way."
Biden's meeting with Putin Wednesday lasted for nearly three hours. The two presidents agreed to cooperate on certain issues such as averting nuclear war, the denuclearization of Iran and avoiding confrontations in the Arctic.
Unlike former President Donald Trump, Biden was blunt in discussing Russia's alleged human rights violations. Biden said he directly confronted Putin about the issue without mincing words.
"How could I be the president of the United States of America and not speak about the violation of human rights, I told him. That's why we're going to raise our concerns about cases like Alexey Navalny," Biden said.
Biden said if Navalny dies in prison, it would be "devastating for Russia." During a separate interview, Putin said Navalny was being used by the U.S. as an instrument to contain his government. Putin also fired back and pointed out the U.S.'s own human rights violations.
Responding to questions about the recent cyberattacks on U.S. businesses, Putin denied that his government was involved.
Biden previously said that he hopes the meeting would help stabilize the relations between the two nations. Over the previous administration, Russia has repeatedly antagonized the U.S. by harboring cybercriminals targeting U.S. industries, interfering with its elections and annexing Crimea from Ukraine despite international protests.
Putin said in a news conference after he met with Biden that they both agreed to conduct further talks to discuss issues such as cybersecurity and strengthening diplomatic ties. Both countries have also agreed to return their respective ambassadors to their posts in each others capitals.
"[The meeting was] on the whole productive, substantive, concrete and took place in an atmosphere aimed at achieving results, the most important of which was that glimmer of trust," Putin said.