The Russian president was asked about his jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an interview filmed in Moscow last week before his meeting with Biden in Switzerland.
And he replied by hitting back at the US, equating the arrest of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol with his treatment of Navalny.
He said: ‘We have a saying: ‘Don’t be mad at the mirror if you are ugly,'” he said. “It has nothing to do with you personally. But if somebody blames us for something, what I say is, why don’t you look at yourselves? You will see yourselves in the mirror, not us.’
‘You are presenting it as dissent and intolerance toward dissent in Russia. We view it completely differently,’ he told US broadcaster NBC News.
He then pointed at the January 6 MAGA raid on the Capitol, saying: ‘Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? … They came there with political demands.’
Putin has a point there.
Putin also reiterated denials that the Kremlin was behind last year’s poisoning of Navalny with a nerve agent that nearly killed him.
‘We don’t have this kind of habit, of assassinating anybody,’ Putin claimed.
‘Did you order the assassination of the woman who walked into the Congress and who was shot and killed by a policeman?’ Putin said, referring to Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to climb through a window that led to the House floor. …
Putin used the same interview to hail Donald Trump …
He told Simons: ‘Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president Mr Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. president.
‘He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not.
‘And, but he didn’t come from the U.S. establishment. He had not been part of big-time politics before, and some like it, some don’t like it but that is a fact.’
On the current president, Putin said: ‘(Biden) is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics.’