The stampede did not stop. The journalists pushed forward and shouted at each other to move. After just a minute or two, Russian security pulled the red cord separating the media from the rulers in an attempt to keep the media further away from the rulers. Russian security shouted for reporters to get out of the room and started pushing reporters.
American journalists and White House officials have started shouting that Russian security should stop touching them.
Biden, accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Putin, accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, watched the scene unfold, appearing amused. At one point, Biden leaned over and spoke to the interpreter and smiled.
A reporter asked Biden if he trusted Putin. Biden looked at her and nodded in the affirmative.
Press secretary Jen Psaki denied that Biden was answering the question. “During a chaotic free-for-all with members of the press shouting questions at each other, the president nodded towards the media. He wasn’t answering any questions or anything but chaos.
A second reporter asked Putin if he feared Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned and jailed, and what he would do if Ukraine joined NATO. Putin looked up and didn’t respond.
US and Russian officials had agreed that each side could have a small number of selected journalists in the room. Other journalists stood outside the building but did not try to enter.
Biden and Putin kicked off their highly anticipated meeting on Wednesday afternoon amid escalating tensions over cyberattacks, human rights and election interference. The two presidents are expected to meet for several hours, before each holds separate press conferences.