“He is focused,” Putin said. “He understands what he wants to achieve and reaches it very skillfully.”
Experts say that type of praise points to Putin being rattled.
Ralph Peters, a former Army intelligence officer, said Biden’s flare-up with a reporter about whether he’s confident Putin will change also made an impression.
“When Putin saw Biden’s flash of anger, what was the flash of anger about? The insinuation that he was somehow soft or trusting of Putin, and Biden was making it clear that this is a break in American policy.”
A Moscow Times headline read “Biden’s Media Image Has ‘Nothing to Do with Reality, Putin Says.”
Putin dismissed what he described as media attempts to cast Biden as physically frail, noting that the 78-year-old U.S. president was in great shape even though the meeting wrapped up a European tour for him that included the G-7 and NATO summits.
“He was on a long trip, he flew in from across the ocean, involving jetlag,” the 68-year-old Putin said, adding that he knows how tiring travel can be.
“The atmosphere was quite friendly,” he added. “I think we managed to understand each other, we managed to understand each other’s positions on key issue, they differ on many things and we noted the differences. At the same time, we established areas and points where we can possibly bring our positions closer in the future.”
Still, Putin is testing Biden’s resolve with crippling cyberattacks.
Putin, who has strongly denied any Russian state role in the cyberattacks, argued Thursday that “instead of finger-pointing and bickering, we should better combine efforts to fight cybercrime.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the summit as positive and productive, saying it allowed the leaders “to directly put forward their positions and try to understand where interaction is possible and where there can be no interaction due to categorical disagreements.”