Putin says ‘of course’ Russia will extradite cyber hackers – but only if the US agrees to send unidentified ‘criminals’ to Russia

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin was interviewed on state TV in advance of his summit meeting with Joe Biden June 16 in Geneva 
  • Putin also said it was planned to ‘restore our personal contacts’
  • He said Russia would extradite criminals only if the other side ‘agrees to the same’
  • Russia did not extradite intelligence officers indicted for election hacking in 2015 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia would be willing to send ransomware hackers to the U.S. – but only if the two sides can reach agreement on mutual extradition of criminals.

Putin issued his comments in advance of his June 16th summit meeting with President Joe Biden in Geneva, on a pressing subject Biden has already said he will raise.

It was not entirely clear from his remark if he was signaling cooperation, or once again throwing back an accusation at the West, following a ransomeware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline that is critical to the East Coast supplies. Another recent ransomware attack hit Brazilian meat supplier JBS. Cyber experts cast it as a crime wave taking place right under Moscow’s nose.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in a TV interview about extradition of ransomware hackers

‘If we agree to extradite criminals, then of course Russia will do that, we will do that, but only if the other side, in this case the United States, agrees to the same and will extradite the criminals in question to the Russian Federation,’ Putin is quoted as saying, according to the Interfax news agency.

The U.S. doesn’t have a functioning extradition treaty with Russia – although it did reach one with czarist Russia in 1893. 

Russia did not hand over Russian intelligence officers special counsel Robert Mueller indicted on charges of election interference in 2018.

President Joe Biden has said he will raise the issue of ransomware attacks during his June 16 summit meeting with Putin

The ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline and disrupted U.S. energy supplies, although the U.S. government says it was able to claw back ransom money

The U.S. identified Russia-based hackers as being behind the Colonial Pipeline attack, but have not accused the Russian government.  

Putin is also quoted about the opportunity to restore contacts through ‘direct dialogue.’ 

It is planned ‘to restore our personal contacts, relations, to establish direct dialog, to create really functioning mechanisms in those areas that represent mutual interests,’ he said in an interview on state TV that has yet to air. 

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