Asked about US President Joe Biden’s remarks, President Vladimir Putin charged they reflect the troubled past of US, pointing to atomic bombing of Japan, history of slaughtering Native Americans and slavery.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that US President Joe Biden’s remarks about him reflect the US' own past and current problems.
It came after Biden was asked in an interview whether he thought Russian President is a killer and said, “I do.”
Asked about Biden’s remarks during a video call with residents of Crimea marking the anniversary of its 2014 annexation from Ukraine, Putin charged that they reflect the United States’ own troubled past.
The Russian leader pointed at the US atomic bombing of Japan during World War II, as well as America's past history of slaughtering Native Americans and slavery, arguing that the painful legacies weigh on the United States.
“Otherwise where would the Black Lives Matter movement come from,” he said.
Asked what he would tell Biden in response to his remarks, Putin said, “I would tell him: ‘Be well.’ I wish him health, and I say that without any irony or joking.”
Recalling his childhood, Putin said that he and his friends would respond to insults with a rhyme saying, “the names you call is what you are yourself.”
“It's not just a rhymed childish joke, it has a deep psychological meaning: we see our own qualities in another man, we think he's like us and judge him accordingly,” he added.
Putin claimed that the US establishment likes to air accusations against other countries as part of its efforts to “solve domestic and foreign policy problems."
He noted that Russia would still cooperate with the United States where and when it supports Moscow’s interests, adding that "a lot of honest and decent people in the US want to have peace and friendship with Russia."
“We are aware of it, we value it and will rely on them in the future,” Putin said.
'Very bad remarks by the US president'
Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov deplored what he called “very bad remarks by the US president” that made it clear that “he doesn't want to normalise relations.”
“We will proceed accordingly,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters, noting that "there was nothing like that in history.” He wouldn't answer if Russia could go as far as to rupture diplomatic ties with the United States.
Konstantin Kosachev, a deputy speaker of the Russian parliament's upper house, said Biden’s “boorish statement” marks a watershed.
“Such assessments are inadmissible for a statesman of his rank,” Kosachev said. “Such statements are unacceptable under any circumstances. They inevitably lead to a sharp exacerbation of our bilateral ties.”
Kosachev warned that Russia’s response wouldn’t be limited to recalling the Russian ambassador “if the American side fails to offer explanation and excuse.” He wouldn’t elaborate on what other action the Kremlin may take.
Ties are in crisis
In a swift response to Biden's comments, Moscow on Wednesday evening recalled its ambassador in the United States for urgent consultations — an unprecedented move in recent Russian diplomacy.
Its embassy in Washington said ambassador Anatoly Antonov was set to depart for Russia on Saturday to discuss "ways to rectify Russia-US ties, which are in crisis."
While announcing the decision to recall the Russian ambassador in Washington, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova blamed the US for bringing bilateral ties to a “dead end,” adding that “we are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks.”
Commenting on the Russian move on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki emphasised that “we will be direct, we will speak out on areas where we have concerns, and it will certainly be, as the president said last night — certainly, the Russians will be held accountable for the actions that they have taken.”
November’s presidential election
The exchange of tough statements comes on the heels of a declassified report from the US national intelligence director’s office that finds President Putin authorised influence operations to help Donald Trump in last November’s presidential election.
“(Putin) will pay a price,” Biden said in the interview, when asked about the declassified report.
Russia's relations with the US and the EU already have plunged to post-Cold War lows after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, election meddling, hacking attacks and, most recently, the jailing of Russia's opposition leader Alexey Navalny following his poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin. The Russian authorities rejected the accusations.