MOSCOW, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet at a summit with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday, has hinted that hundreds of people arrested for causing disturbances on the US Capitol are being persecuted “for political opinions.”

Biden is likely to harshly criticize Putin at his meeting in Geneva for measures taken against his rivals in Russia, particularly the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the arrest of thousands of protesters who protested his arrest, and other actions against in his wake.

“They present it as dissent and intolerance towards dissent in Russia. We consider it totally different,” he said in an interview Monday with our sister network NBC News.

He then pointed to the January 6 riot in Washington, when protesters stormed the Capitol to try to stop the counting of electoral votes to certify Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump.

“Did you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering Congress? They went there with political demands,” he commented.

Putin also reiterated denials that the Kremlin was behind Navalny’s poisoning last year with a nerve agent that left him on the brink of death.

“We don’t have these kinds of habits, to murder,” Putin said.

“Did you order the murder of the woman who entered Congress and a police officer shot her to death?” Putin asked of Trump supporter Ashli ​​Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol police officer when she tried to climb out of a window that led to the plenary session of the House of Representatives.

Putin also dismissed allegations that Russia is carrying out cyberattacks against the United States as unfounded.

“Where is the evidence? Where is the evidence? This is becoming absurd,” Putin said. “We have been accused of all kinds of things – electoral interference, cyber attacks and so on – and never, not once, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof, just baseless accusations.”

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