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Russia critical of US refusal to hold Putin and Biden TV chat

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The Russian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that Washington has rejected President Vladimir Putin’s offer to arrange a public call with US President Joe Biden to help defuse tensions raised by Mr Biden’s recent remark that the Russian leader was a killer.

One more opportunity has been missed to find a way out of the deadlock in Russian-US relations created through the fault of Washington,” the ministry said in a statement.

In an interview broadcast last Wednesday, Mr Biden replied “I do” when asked if he thought Mr Putin was a “killer”. 

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Putin’s subsequent offer to make the call public was intended to prevent Mr Biden’s statement from inflicting irreparable damage to the already frayed ties between Russia and the United States.

During a public event last Thursday, Mr Putin gave an “it-takes-one-to-know-one” response, pointing at the US history of slavery, slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.

At the same time, Mt Putin noted that Russia would still cooperate with the United States where and when it supports Moscow’s interests, and suggested that he and Mr Biden have a call on Friday or on Monday that would be broadcast.

In taking a tough stance on Russia, Mr Biden has said the days of the US “rolling over” to Mr Putin are done.

And he has taken pains to contrast his style with the approach of former President Donald Trump, who avoided direct confrontation with Mr Putin and frequently spoke about the Russian leader with approval.

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Last week, the US national intelligence director’s office released a report finding that Mr Putin authorised influence operations to help Trump’s re-election bid.

The Biden administration warned that Russia would face sanctions soon over its attempt to influence the election and the massive SolarWinds hacks.

Meanwhile, relations between the European Union and Russia are at a low point, with disagreement in many areas, European Council President Charles Michel told Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday.

Mr Michel, who chairs EU summits, spoke to Mr Putin ahead of a video conference of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday to discuss EU-Russia relations and after the EU imposed sanctions on Russians over rights abuses in Chechnya.

“President Michel expressed the view that EU-Russia ties are at a low point and confirmed the EU’s approach of the five guiding principles, based on the EU’s core values,” the council said in a statement.

“There is currently disagreement in many areas.”

Disagreements included the situation in Ukraine, human rights, hybrid and cyber-attacks on EU countries and the assassination attempt on and jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.


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