Russia called its ambassador to the US back to Moscow on Wednesday after an interview of President Biden aired where Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.”
In the interview, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked President Biden if he believes that Putin is a “killer,” to which Biden responded, “Uh-huh. I do.” Biden said he once told Putin that he believed the Russian leader had no “soul.”
Stephanopoulos and Biden also discussed an assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that claimed Putin sought to hurt Biden in the 2020 election. Biden said Putin will “pay a price” for the allegations made by the ODNI.
Like most US claims of Russian meddling, no evidence has been presented to back up the latest allegations besides the intelligence assessment, and the ODNI report did not explain how the conclusion was reached. Russia dismissed the accusation as “baseless” and said the assessment was likely going to be used as a pretext for sanctions.
Announcing the recall of the US ambassador, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Moscow was hoping for better relations with the US.
“Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov has been invited for consultations in order to figure out what to do and where to move in terms of relations with the United States,” Zakharova said in a statement. “The main thing for us is to find out ways to improve Russia-US relations,” she added.
Also on Wednesday, the US slapped more sanctions on Russia over the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A report from CNN on Tuesday night said the US is expected to impose more sanctions on Russia next week over the ODNI report on the 2020 election.