On Wednesday, Russia recalled its ambassador to the United States, one day after President Joe Biden branded Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.”
According to The New York Times, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “We are interested in preventing an inevitable breakdown in ties if the Americans become aware of the risks associated with this.”
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Ambassador Anatoly Antonov was recalled, according to the statement, “in order to examine what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States.”
During an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Biden was asked if he believed Putin was a serial killer.
Biden responded, “Mmm hmm, I do.”
“The price he’s going to pay, well, you’ll see shortly,” he said when asked what the Russian leader would pay for his behaviour.
According to NBC News, Putin said Biden was thinking of America’s flawed history of slavery and extermination of Native Americans during a Thursday appearance on Russian television.
“There are many rough, dramatic, and bloody events in the history of every people, every state. When we judge other individuals or even states, though, we still look in the mirror. Putin said, “We still see ourselves in it.”
“When I was younger and got into fights with my peers, we used to say, ‘Whoever calls names gets called that himself,’” he said.
“And that isn’t just a kid’s joke.” Psychologically, the sense is very profound. We still see our own characteristics in another person and assume that he or she is similar to us. And then assess his or her behavior, as well as him or her as a whole,” Putin said.
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Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, had previously characterized Biden’s remarks as “very bad.”
“He has made it clear that he does not want to improve ties with our country, and we will proceed accordingly,” Peskov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin responds to President Biden’s "killer" remark:
“I would tell him — I wish you good health.” pic.twitter.com/dIzA1e2tvu
— The Recount (@therecount) March 18, 2021
According to The Times, Konstantin Kosachev, the president of Russia’s upper house of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote on Facebook, “This is a landmark moment.”
“Any hopes for a new U.S. administration’s strategy against Russia have been dashed by this obnoxious statement,” he wrote.
The deputy chairman of Parliament’s lower house, Pyotr Tolstoy, said that “the only language” that Americans understand is “unfortunately, the language of power.”
Biden’s remark, according to one analyst, was essentially a move in the never-ending game of diplomatic chess.
“Biden’s comments were unusually straightforward — and he is a seasoned politician who would not have addressed the question directly if he didn’t want to. However, given that this administration has so far talked tough on Russia without taking more than nominal steps, it is still uncertain what it means,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor at University College London School.
“This kind of terminology could just as easily be used to detract from the lack of serious action as it could be used to foreshadow it,” he said.
“In that sense, Ambassador Antonov’s withdrawal for consultations is as much a warning from Moscow as anything else that the US should not push things too far,” Galeotti said.