March 18, 2021 3:52:38 pm
Russia has ordered its US ambassador to return to Moscow after President Joe Biden said he believed his Russian counterpart was a killer.
Diplomats warn that relations are close to complete breakdown after Biden also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would face retaliation for election interference.
What did Joe Biden say?
In an ABC news interview, Joe Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed Putin — who some accuse of ordering the assassinations of his political opponents — was a killer.
Biden also responded to questions about a US intelligence report that Putin tried to harm his candidacy in the November 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump’s.
“He will pay a price,” said 78-year-old Biden. “You’ll see shortly.”
What has been the Russian reaction?
Russia on Thursday said it had summoned its envoy home. “The Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, has been invited to come to Moscow for consultations conducted with the aim of analyzing what should be done and where to go in the context of ties with the United States,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
The deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s upper house, Konstantin Kosachyov, said Biden’s comments ended hopes of a change in US policy towards Russia under the new administration.
He said more action might follow, but the recall of the Russian ambassador was a reasonable step.
“I suspect it will not be the last one if no explanation or apology follows from the American side,” Kosachyov said in a Facebook post.
Another pro-Kremlin lawmaker Artur Chilingarov, from the lower house of parliament, called for a “tough reaction” from Moscow.
The Russian government has not yet responded publicly to the Biden interview, but it is expected to do so later on Thursday.
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