Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, 18 March, reacted to US President Joe Biden’s “killer” comment and said "it takes one to know one.”
However, as per AFP, Putin also stated that Moscow would not sever ties with Washington despite the spat.
Putin was speaking at an event that marked the seventh anniversary of Russia taking over Crimea.
He further explained his “takes one to know one” comment by saying:
“That’s not just a children’s saying and a joke. There’s a deep psychological meaning in this. We always see in another person our own qualities and think that he is the same as us.”
Putin also wished Biden good health and reportedly said: "I'm saying this without irony, not as a joke."
In an interview released on Wednesday, Biden informed ABC that had communicated with Putin, saying that any confirmation of Russian interference would lead to repercussions for the Kremlin. On being asked if he thought Putin was a killer, Biden had responded, “I do.”
Following the disclosure of a US intelligence report on Tuesday, 16 March, which concluded that Moscow sought to influence the 2020 US election towards former president Donald Trump, United States President Joe Biden said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “will pay a price”.
In response, the Putin administration on Wednesday sparked the first diplomatic crisis for the new president and called its US ambassador back to Moscow awaiting further dialogue with the US.
What The Intelligence Report Said
The intelligence report had revealed that Moscow was seeking to “push influence narratives”. This involved misleading or unsubstantiated claims against Biden “to US media organisations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration,” Aljazeera reported.
It also stated that Putin was “aware and probably directed” the effort to augment the Trump campaign.
‘Killer’: Biden Refuses to Hold Back
In an interview released on Wednesday, Biden informed ABC that had communicated with Putin, saying that any confirmation of Russian interference would lead to repercussions for the Kremlin.
The US President said, “He will pay a price,” adding that “We had a long talk. I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”
On being asked if he thought Putin was a killer, Biden responded, “I do.”
The Kremlin, however, denied the claims on Wednesday, saying that they were just another pretext for additional sanctions. Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “We consider this report to be wrong. It is absolutely baseless and unsubstantiated,” Aljazeera quoted a media report.
The US had earlier imposed sanctions on four senior Russian officials over Moscow’s poisoning and incarceration of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, which Moscow had cast as an unwarranted intervention in its internal affairs.
‘Prevent Further Deterioration’
Following Biden’s comments, Russia called its envoy back to Moscow for further deliberation. The Russian foreign ministry said, “The Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, has been invited to come to Moscow for consultations to be conducted with the aim of analyzing what should be done and where to go in the context of ties with the United States,” AFP quoted.
The ABC interview was aired in the backdrop of the US Commerce Department announcing its toughening of export restrictions on Russia – another consequence for Navalny’s poisoning.
Even as Russia summoned its US ambassador home, it stressed the need to prevent an “irreversible deterioration” in relations, AFP reported.
“The most important thing for us is to identify ways of rectifying Russia-US relations, which have been going through hard times as Washington has, as a matter of fact, brought them to a blind alley,” BBC quoted the Russian Foreign ministry as stating.
(With inputs from Aljazeera, AFP and BBC)