Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked his American counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday, escalating a war of words between the two world leaders.
Putin said “it takes someone to know one” after Biden a day earlier said he thought the Russian leader was a “killer.”
Biden made the comment in an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday. When asked if he thought the Russian leader, who has been accused of ordering the poisoning of Alexey Navalny and other rivals, is a “killer,” Biden replied, “Yes.
Biden also described Putin as having no soul and has said he will pay the price for Russia’s alleged meddling in the November 2020 US presidential election, which the Kremlin denies.
Putin retorted Thursday: “I remember, in my childhood, when we argued in the courtyard, we said:” It takes someone to know one “. And that’s no coincidence, not just a kid’s saying or joke.
“We always see our own traits in other people and think they look like who we really are. And, therefore, we evaluate [a person’s] activities and give feedback.
“Like him [Biden] said, we know each other personally. What would I answer him? I would say: I wish you health. I wish you health. I say this without irony or joking.
In a very unusual gesture after Biden’s interview, Russia said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States for urgent consultations on the future of US-Russian relations.
The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC said in a statement that Anatoly Antonov will be leaving the United States on Saturday.
He added that “some thoughtless statements by senior US officials have put the already excessively divisive relations under threat of collapse.”
Russian lawmakers call for a ‘tough’ response
Shortly before Putin spoke on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Biden’s remarks showed he had no interest in forming relations with Moscow.
“These are very bad remarks from the American president. He clearly showed that he did not want to improve relations with our country, ”Peskov said. “We will now go from there.”
Konstantin Kosachyov, deputy speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, said Biden’s remarks would already ignite bad ties and put an end to any hope in Moscow for a change in US policy.
Kosachyov added that the recall of Ambassador Antonov was a reasonable step.
“I suspect it won’t be the last if no explanation or excuse emerges from the US side,” he said in a Facebook post.
Artur Chilingarov, a pro-Kremlin lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, called for a “firm reaction” from Moscow, in comments made to Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.
US tightens sanctions on Navalny
Moscow’s relations with the West, which are already languishing at post-Cold War lows since 2014, have come under further pressure in recent months on Navalny, imprisoned in Russia.
Western powers, including the United States, demanded Navalny’s release. Russia has dismissed these calls as unacceptable interference in its internal affairs.
The U.S. Department of Commerce on Wednesday tightened sanctions on some exports to Russia as punishment for the suspected poisoning of Navalny in August last year.
The department said the move would tighten restrictions originally put in place in response to the poisoning in March 2018 of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, with a quality nerve agent. military.
Moscow has denied any role in both cases.
The United States is believed to be preparing new sanctions against Russia for alleged hacking and interference in the 2020 election.
“You’ll see soon,” Biden told ABC, when asked what the consequences of Russia would be.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow expects an explanation for Biden’s comments, Interfax news agency reported.