He said it was wrong for the US to slam crackdowns on anti-government protests overseas, while prosecuting Americans with “political demands”. Speaking at a forum in St Petersburg, Mr Putin set expectations low for his summit on 16 June with US President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ties between the two countries are at their worst since the Cold War. At the International Economic Forum on Friday, Mr Putin addressed some of the diplomatic bones of contention as he said he expected no breakthroughs during the Biden bilateral.
He denied suggestions that recent cyber-attacks on US companies had originated in Russia, and rejected claims that Moscow had meddled in American elections.
Mr Putin reserved some of his most stinging criticism for US condemnation of a crackdown on anti-government protests by Moscow’s regional ally, Belarus. He hit back by suggesting the US Capitol rioters were being treated unfairly.
“They weren’t just a crowd of robbers and rioters,” Mr Putin said of the Trump supporters who stormed Congress on 6 January and temporarily suspended a session to certify Mr Biden as the winner of last November’s election. “Those people had come with political demands.”