Biden Claims He Knew Putin 40 Years Ago—When He Was Undercover KGB Agent

Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. president Joe Biden (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden claimed in an interview Thursday that he has known Vladimir Putin "for over 40 years"—meaning they would have met when Putin was serving as an undercover KGB officer.

"I’ve known him for over 40 years. He’s concerned me for 40 years. He’s not a decent man—he’s a dictator and he’s struggling to make sure he holds his country together while still keeping this assault going," Biden told ABC News anchor David Muir during an interview in France on the anniversary of D-Day.

It is highly unlikely that Biden, then a Delaware senator, would have known Putin in the early to mid 1980s. Putin, who worked for the Soviet intelligence service from 1975 until 1991, was serving as an undercover agent at the time, on assignment in East Germany and, allegedly, in Singapore and New Zealand.

Putin "had never been a public figure" until he was chosen by then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin as prime minister in 1999, according to a Washington Post article written in 2000.

This is not the first time Biden has misrepresented his relations with foreign leaders. He claimed multiple times, without any evidence, that he was arrested in apartheid South Africa in 1977 while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison.

In February, Biden also mixed up the names of multiple European leaders in referencing meetings he had with them. He confused French president Emmanuel Macron with former president François Mitterand, who died in 1996, and only a few days later, mistakenly referred to deceased German chancellor Helmut Kohl instead of Angela Merkel.