Nov 3, 2021 12:21 PM EST

Kremlin defends Putin’s absence from COP26

MOSCOW — The Kremlin has rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin for not attending the U.N. climate conference.

“His tundra is burning — literally, the tundra is burning. He has serious, serious climate problems, and he is mum on willingness to do anything,” Biden said Tuesday of Putin and the wildfires that scorched Siberia this summer.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Moscow does not agree with Biden’s characterization. He said the Russian delegation at COP26 actively participated in the summit.

“Russia’s climate action don’t have the goal of being pegged to an event,” Peskov said. “Of course, we are not belittling the significance of the event in Glasgow, but Russia’s actions are consistent, serious and well-thought-through.”

“The tundra indeed is burning,” Peskov continued. “But let’s not forget that forests are burning in California, and in Turkey, and in other countries. These are the consequences of climate change we’re facing, and Russia, to some extent, is facing more serious challenges.”