President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday deflected questions about human rights in Russia during a press conference and instead took a dig at America over mass shooting incidents after his first face-to-face meeting with US counterpart Joe Biden in Geneva.
The meeting went on for over three hours, following which the two leaders addressed the media.
Mr Putin was asked questions about the jailing of Russian opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny and the situation of human rights and laws in the country, when the leader raised the issue of the 6 January US Capitol attack, police brutality and the rates of gun crime in US cities.
“You can hardly open your mouth before being shot dead,” Mr Putin shot back taking the opportunity to criticise the US for its civil rights struggles at home.
“Look at American streets. People are getting killed there,” he said in translated comments. “You can get a bullet in the neck.”
He compared the arrest of Mr Navalny to the arrests of suspects in the 6 January US Capitol riots which Mr Biden called “a ridiculous comparison” later in a press conference.
“As for who is killing whom or are throwing whom in jail, people came to the US Congress with political demands,” said Mr Putin.
“Over 400 people had criminal charges placed on them. They face prison sentences of up to 28, maybe even 25 years. They’re being called domestic terrorists.”
Mr Putin also raked up the issue of racial injustice in the US and the Black Lives Matter protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.
“America just recently had very severe events after well-known events, after a killing of an African American and an entire movement developed known as Black Lives Matter,” said Mr Putin.
“What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etcetera. We feel sympathy for the United States of America, but we don’t want that to happen on our territory, and we’re doing our utmost in order to not allow it to happen,” he said.
Despite the subtle jibes, Mr Putin concluded that there had been “no hostility” between the two and the US president said that he had made “no threats” towards his counterpart.
No major breakthrough was announced between the countries in the highly anticipated meeting, the first in three years after former President Donald Trump met Mr Putin in 2018 summit in Helsinki.