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Putin responds to Biden ‘killer’ claim: ‘Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’

The claim by the US leader has provoked an angry response in Russia

Oliver Carroll
Moscow Correspondent
Thursday 18 March 2021 16:37 GMT
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Putin responds to Biden ‘killer’ claim
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Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, has responded to remarks by his US counterpart that he is a “killer” by repeating a playground ditty that “those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

Mr Putin, who was speaking to Russian state TV, also pointedly wished Joe Biden the “best of health”.

There have been claims by some Russian critics of Mr Biden, that the 78-year-old is suffering from dementia.

Earlier this week, the US president was interviewed on TV and was asked if he thought the Russian leader was “a killer”. Mr Biden responded: “Yes, I do”, an answer which has enraged Moscow.

These were the first remarks made by President Putin following Mr Biden’s ABC interview.

Mr Putin was asked about Biden’s comment during a video call marking the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and he said the remark reflected the United States’ own problems.

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He pointed at the US atomic bombing of Japan during the Second World War, as well as its history of slavery and slaughtering Native Americans, noting the painful legacies weighing on the United States.

“Otherwise, where would the Black Lives [Matter] movement come from?” he said, citing racial injustice and the killing of African Americans.

The Russian leader’s comments followed an angry rebuke earlier on Thursday by the Kremlin spokesman.

Speaking with journalists in his daily press conference, spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the US president’s comments as “very bad” and suggested such comments were without historical precedent.

“It shows he definitely doesn’t want to build relations with our country,” he said. “And things will flow from this.”

On Wednesday, in a sign of frosty relations between the two nuclear superpowers, Russia recalled its ambassador from the US.

There has been plenty of criticism of Mr Biden’s remarks inside Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council who served as president between 2008-2012, said that “time hasn’t spared Biden” and cited Sigmund Freud, saying, “Nothing costs so much in life as illness and stupidity.”

Konstantin Kosachyov, a foreign policy expert recently appointed as deputy speaker of the upper chamber, said Moscow was examining a number of responses in the events of not receiving an apology.

He said Mr Biden’s words were “unacceptable” and would lead to worsensing relations between Washington and Moscow.

Usually one of Moscow’s more diplomatic voices, Mr Kosachyov said he hoped Mr Biden’s answers followed from “old age” and “hearing problems”.

Diplomatic games: a poster with images of a Soviet and a US flags advertises legendary musical ‘Chess’ in Moscow on Thursday (AFP/Getty)

Other lieutenants of the Russian political class described Mr Biden’s comments as “political insanity” and “hysteria”.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower parliament, said remarks that offend Vladimir Putin offend the entire Russian nation.

“No one is allowed to speak about the head of our state like that,” he said.

Andrei Turchak, general secretary of the ruling United Russia party, said Mr Biden’s interview answer represented the “age-related dementia of the US leadership”.

The exchange of tough statements follows a declassified report from the US national intelligence director’s office that found Putin authorised influence operations to try to help Trump in his failed bid to win re-election in November.

The Kremlin has dismissed the report as baseless. However, President Biden said there would be consequences.

“[Putin] will pay a price,” Mr Biden said in the interview, asked about the declassified report.

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