On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wants to hold talks with President Biden as soon as possible to discuss US-Russia relations. The invitation comes a day after an interview aired where President Biden agreed that the Russian president was a “killer.”
Putin said the talks should be live and open to the public to view. “I want to offer President Biden that we continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it live, online, without any delays,” he said. “We could do it tomorrow or, let’s say, on Monday.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Putin’s offer for live discussions. “I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we are entertaining,” she said, mentioning that Biden and Putin spoke in January. “The President will, of course, be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy,” she added. Psaki also told reporters that Biden did not regret calling Putin a “killer.”
Earlier on Thursday, Putin responded to Biden’s “killer” comment. Putin said, “Whatever you say [about others] is what you are yourself,” and also wished the American president well. “As far as statements by my US counterpart are concerned. What would I say to him in response? I would tell him: ‘Be healthy!’ I wish him good health,” Putin said, adding that his response was not meant to be ironic.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also responded to Biden’s interview, calling the comments “very bad” and a sign that the US has no interest in mending relations with Moscow. On Wednesday, after Biden’s interview aired, Russia called its ambassador to the US back to Moscow for “consultations” about US relations.
Besides the harsh rhetoric from Biden, the US has also slapped sanctions on Russia over the jailing and alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Sanctions were expanded on Wednesday to tighten export restrictions of certain items to Russia, and the Biden administration is reportedly preparing even more sanctions.