Biden to confront Putin on cyber attacks, White House says

BRUSSELS, Belgium (NBC) – After meeting with world leaders at the Group of Seven political forum, 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.

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.

NBC’s Kier Simmons asked Putin, “Mr. president are you waging a cyberwar against America?”

Putin responded, “Where is the evidence? Where is proof? It’s becoming farcical.”

The US intelligence community has produced evidence of Russian hackers targeting the federal government and meddling in elections.

Mr. 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,” Biden said.

NBC News reports 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, 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. Remember President Biden has only met Putin once before.

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