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Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to President Joe Biden calling him a “killer” on Thursday, throwing the label back at Biden.
“Whoever calls someone those names, is describing themselves,” Putin said in a press conference, according to a translation posted by CNN senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga. Another translation posted by Bloomberg had Putin saying, “It takes one to know one.”
“As [Biden] mentioned, we do know each other personally. What can I tell him? I wish him good health. That’s without irony,” Putin went on.
In addition to Putin’s response to Biden calling him a killer, (“whoever calls someone those names, is describing themselves.”),
In this video, he says “As (Biden) mentioned, we do know each other personally. What can I tell him? I wish him good health. That’s without irony.” https://t.co/xkRpu4MElU
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) March 18, 2021
ABC News host George Stephanopoulos asked Biden about Putin in an interview that aired on Wednesday. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
But Biden was also asked about a Tuesday report from The New York Times noting that U.S. intelligence officials believe Putin authorized “extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report.”
The report did not name any specific Trump operatives but did seem to implicate Rudy Giuliani, who served as one of the former president’s chief legal advisors following his November election loss, and it noted that, while Russia and other countries often at odds with the United States on policy — including Iran and China — did not make an effort to change or alter ballots or ballot collection, they did seek to undermine American perceptions of the electoral process.
Biden claims that he specifically warned Putin, in a call earlier in his presidency, that there would be a White House response if the allegations of voter manipulation were proved true.
“He will pay a price,” Biden told ABC. “We had a long talk, he and I, and relatively well. And the conversation started — ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, be prepared.’”
Stephanopoulos also asked Biden if he thought that Putin was a “killer,” to which Biden responded, “I do.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria V. Zakharova slammed Biden’s comment on Thursday and announced the withdrawal of U.S. envoy Anatoly I. Antonov back to Moscow “in order to analyze what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States,” according to The New York Times. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Biden’s comments on Putin, “There hasn’t been anything like this in history,” according to CNN.
“These are very bad statements by the president of the United States. He definitely does not want to improve relations with us, and we will continue to proceed from this,” Peskov said.
Konstantin I. Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s upper house of Parliament, demanded that Biden apologize for calling Putin a “killer” in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“This is a watershed moment,” the post said, according to the Times. “Any expectations for the new U.S. administration’s new policy toward Russia have been written off by this boorish statement.”
Kosachez warned of a Russian response to Biden’s comments “if explanations and apologies do not follow from the American side.” The Russian politician did not detail what that response might be.