Putin wishes Biden 'good health' as officials demand US apology

Vladmir Putin has wished 乔拜登 “good health” as Kremlin officials lashed out at the “demented, hysterical” US president and promised reprisals if he does not apologise for describing his Russian counterpart as a “killer”.

Putin said that Biden’s remarks reflected the US’s own past and current problems.

Moscow had on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Washington after Biden agreed during a TV interview that Putin had orchestrated murders. In the same interview Biden said his Russian counterpart would soon “pay a price” for alleged election meddling.

The spat comes after Washington imposed sanctions over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and declassified an intelligence report stating that Putin directed interference in the 2020 US presidential election, pushing relations between the countries to new lows.

“These are very bad statements from the president of the United States,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“He clearly does not want to improve ties and we will have to proceed from that understanding,” Peskov added.

Konstantin Kosachev, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said that Moscow would likely take further steps “if the American side does not offer an explanation or apology”.

Kosachev said Biden’s comments “were not acceptable under any circumstances” and sent any hopes of an improvement of relations under the new administration “down the drain”.

Earlier Andrei Turchak, a senior politician from the ruling United Russia party, said Biden’s interview was “a triumph of US political insanity and old-age dementia of their leader.”

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the Russian parliament, said the “hysterical” US leader had “insulted the citizens of our country”.

Putin last year praised Biden as an “experienced” politician and said he would be willing to work with any US administration to improve ties between Moscow and Washington.

But in Biden’s first call with Putin he signalled that he would take a significantly tougher public line on Moscow than the Trump administration, pushing the Russian leader on the persecution of Navalny and cyber-attacks on US government agencies.

Biden has previously said he does not believe Putin has a soul, an assessment that he repeated in Wednesday’s interview.

He insisted, 然而, that there are areas where the countries have a “mutual interest to work together,” even as both sides blamed the other for the deterioration in ties.

As Moscow recalled its ambassador for talks, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova admitted that relations “are in a difficult state, which Washington has brought to a dead-end in recent years”. The White House’s Jen Psaki meanwhile said that “the Russian will be held accountable for the actions they have taken”.

Since Obama’s attempt to “reset” relations, the Cold War foes have clashed over Russian hacking, election interference, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.