BRUSSELS, Belgium (NBC) – After meeting with world leaders at the G7, NATO, and EU summits this week, President Biden is preparing for his face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin and delivered a message to his Russian counterpart ahead of Wednesday’s crucial summit
President Biden’s meeting with leaders of the European Union tackled a series of thorny challenges facing its allies, from the coronavirus to trade disputes and new challenges posed by a rising China. But the president’s biggest focus is that face-to-face with Putin.
Biden said, “If he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond.”
The White House says the president will confront Russia on its election interference in the US and Europe and the recent surge in ransomware attacks on the US food and gas supply that the US blames on Russian hackers.
In NBC News’ world exclusive with Putin he denied Russia was behind those attacks.
The US intelligence community has produced evidence of Russian hackers targeting the federal government and meddling in elections.
Biden said he’s ready to confront Putin. “He’s bright, he’s tough and I’ve found that he is as they say when you play ball, a worthy adversary,” he said.
Days before leaving the United States for Europe, President Biden huddled with a group of Russia experts in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for a prep session. Among those experts in the room were some who formerly worked under the Trump administration. That meeting lasted two hours I’m told focusing on a discussion about a range of views about how to deal with Vladimir
Putin from those who have interacted with him in the past.
President Biden has only met Putin once before.