Biden told reporters: “Every world leader who is a NATO member present here has mentioned this point. Most of them have mentioned this point. Thank you for meeting Putin now-I talked with it. Every leader,” added that this “may be about 10 or 12 inches corresponding.”
In Washington, some Republicans criticized him for agreeing to meet Putin without preconditions, because he thought it was a “reward.”
“[They were] Saying that they are very happy that I did this, I will do it, they think it is entirely appropriate for me to do this, and I have openly discussed with them what they think is important from their point of view,” Biden added.
Earlier in the day, NATO leaders called Russia a “threat” to the alliance and agreed to a new cyber defense policy in another indirect reference.
In their final communiqué, they expressed regret over what they considered “aggression” and military activities near the NATO border, as well as the repeated violations of their airspace by Russian fighter jets.
They said that Russia has intensified its “mixed” operations against member states by attempting to interfere in elections, political and economic intimidation, false propaganda activities and “malicious cyber activities.”
They said: “Russia continues to violate the values, principles, trust and commitments outlined in the agreed documents that underpin NATO’s relations with Russia.”
“Unless Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, it will not be possible to restore’business as usual’,” the final communiqué read.
On the margins of the summit, Biden also met with leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“I will make it clear to President Putin that we can cooperate in certain areas if he wants,” Biden told reporters after finishing his day at NATO headquarters.
“If he chooses not to cooperate and act in the way he has done in cybersecurity and other activities in the past, then we will respond, and we will respond in kind.”