President Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "killer" in this week's ABC News interview, and Moscow is having absolute fits over the subject.
President Vladimir V. Putin dryly wished President Biden “good health” on Thursday after the American leader assented to a description of his Russian counterpart as a “killer,” and long-running tensions morphed into a furious exchange of trans-Atlantic taunts.
The previous evening, Russia took the rare step of recalling its ambassador to Washington after Mr. Biden’s comments in a television interview, warning of the possibility of an “irreversible deterioration of relations.” On Thursday, seated in a gilded chair on the seventh anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Mr. Putin all but called Mr. Biden a killer himself.
“When I was a child, when we argued in the courtyard, we said the following: ‘If you call someone names, that’s really your name,’” Mr. Putin said, quoting a Russian schoolyard rhyme. “When we characterize other people, or even when we characterize other states, other people, it is always as though we are looking in the mirror.”
Despite Mr. Biden’s long-running criticism of Mr. Putin, some Russian analysts had voiced hope that the Kremlin could forge a productive working relationship with the new administration in Washington on areas of common interest. But Mr. Biden’s combative stance in an interview with ABC News that was broadcast on Wednesday seemed to puncture those hopes, even as many of Mr. Putin’s critics praised the American president’s comments.
In the interview, when asked whether he thought Mr. Putin was a “killer,” Mr. Biden responded: “Mmm hmm, I do.” He further pledged that Mr. Putin is “going to pay” for Russian interference in the 2020 election, which was detailed in an American intelligence report this week.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced sanctions against Russian officials after declassifying an intelligence finding that Russia’s domestic intelligence agency had orchestrated the poisoning of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny.
“He said everything right,” a top aide to Mr. Navalny, Leonid Volkov, posted on Twitter, referring to Mr. Biden’s comments.
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters Thursday that Mr. Biden stood by his words. “He gave a direct answer to a direct question,” she said.
Yes, Putin said "I know you are, but what am I?"
Putin's pretty pissed. That alone makes Biden better than Trump by orders of magnitude.
These sanctions are going to hurt, gang.