Biden says he is open to exchanging cybercriminals with Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is open to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to hand over cybercriminals to the United States if Washington does the same for Moscow, just days before the two leaders meet for a summit in Geneva. .

Biden and Putin will be in Switzerland on Wednesday for theirs first face-to-face meeting since Biden was sworn in as president of the United States. Both leaders said over the weekend that relations between their two countries were at an all-time low, but Biden’s latest comments suggested there could be room for cooperation.

Speaking at the conclusion of a meeting of G7 leaders in the UK on Sunday, Biden told reporters he was receptive to Putin’s suggestion of a reciprocal extradition of cybercriminals responsible for disruptive ransomware attacks.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian state TV broadcast an interview with Putin in which the Russian president said that Russia and the United States must “assume equal commitments.”

“Russia will do this naturally, but only if the other party – in this case the United States – accepts the same and extradits even the corresponding criminals to the Russian Federation.”

Asked about Putin’s comments, Biden said: “Yes, I am open to, if there are crimes committed against Russia, which in fact are people who commit these crimes that are kept in the United States, I am committed to make them responsible. ”

“I was told I was flying here.” [Putin] he said, “adds Biden.” I think it’s potentially a good sign of progress. “

A growing number of bold ransomware attacks have paralyzed companies in recent weeks. These included the perturbation of the Colonial Pipeline which supplies oil supplies to much of the east coast of America, as well as operations in JBS, the Brazilian meat processing company. The White House has said it believes the two attacks originated in Russia.

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, said later that Biden had not signed up to a “prisoner swap.”

“What I was saying was that if Vladimir Putin wants to come and say I’m ready to make sure that cyber criminals are held accountable, Joe Biden is perfectly willing to come forward and say that cyber criminals can be held accountable in America, because they already are. That’s what we do, ”Sullivan told Air Force One reporters on his way to the NATO summit in Brussels, the second leg of Biden’s first foreign tour as president.

“It’s not about exchanges or swaps or anything like that.”

Putin told NBC News in an interview aired Friday that relations between the United States and Russia were at their “lowest point in recent years.” On Sunday Biden said he agreed with the characterization, but also pointed out areas where he believes the two countries could work together.

The White House confirmed Saturday that Biden will hold a solo press conference after the summit with Putin on Wednesday, rather than share a milestone like his predecessor Donald Trump did with the Russian president in Helsinki in 2018 .

Queen Elizabeth welcomed Jill and Joe Biden to Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon following the end of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay © AFP via Getty Images

“This is not a competition for someone who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass themselves,” Biden said. “It’s about making it very clear what the conditions are for having a better relationship.

He added: “Russia has engaged in activities that we believe are contrary to international norms. But they have also bitten some real problems that will have problems with chewing. For example, the reconstruction of Syria, of Libya.”

“I hope we can find housing that can save people’s lives in, for example, Libya.”

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