Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that people tend to view others as they actually see themselves after U.S. President Joe Biden said he thought Putin was a killer, and quipped that he wished the U.S. president good health.
A senior Russian lawmaker said earlier on Thursday that Moscow wants an apology from Washington after U.S. President Joe Biden said he thought Vladimir Putin was a killer, and may retaliate against the United States unless it gets one.
In an ABC News interview broadcast a day earlier, Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed Russian president Vladimir Putin was a killer.
He also described Putin as having no soul, and promised he would pay a price for alleged Russian meddling in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, an allegation denied by the Kremlin.
In a highly unusual move following Biden’s interview, Moscow said on Wednesday it was recalling its ambassador to the United States for urgent consultations over the future of U.S.-Russia relations.
Konstantin Kosachyov, deputy chairman of parliament’s upper house, said Biden’s comments were unacceptable, would inevitably inflame already bad ties, and ended any hope in Russia of a change of U.S. policy under a new U.S. administration.
Moscow’s recall of its ambassador was the only reasonable step to take in the circumstances, he said.
“I suspect it will not be the last one if no explanation or apology follows from the American side,” Kosachyov said in a Facebook post.
“This kind of assessment is not allowed from the mouth of a statesman of such a rank. This kind of statement is not acceptable under any circumstances,” he added, calling it a watershed moment in U.S.-Russia relations.
The Kremlin has not yet responded publicly to Biden’s comments, but is likely to do so later on Thursday.
Artur Chilingarov, a pro-Kremlin lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, called for a “tough reaction” from Moscow in comments made to Russia’s Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Russia’s ties with the West, already languishing at post-Cold War lows since 2014, have come under new pressure over Russia’s jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny whose freedom the West has called for.
Moscow has dismissed that as unacceptable meddling in its internal affairs.
Washington has said it is preparing new sanctions against Moscow over an alleged hack and the alleged election interference.
Biden told ABC “You’ll see shortly” when asked what consequences Russia would face for its alleged behavior.