Russia has reacted angrily towards US President Joe Biden after he referred to President Vladimir Putin as 'a killer', calling the comment unprecedented and describing the relationship between the two countries as "very bad."
Putin on Thursday also invited Biden to hold open online talks following the remarks, reported CNN.
In an interview, Biden said Putin 'will pay a price' for his efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election in favour of former President Donald Trump, according to a landmark US intelligence report.
When asked if he thought Putin was 'a killer', Biden responded: "Mhmm. I do."
Reacting to the comments, Putin invited Biden for continuing discussions on the matter.
"I would like to offer President Biden [the opportunity] to continue our discussion, but on condition that we'll do so what is called live, online. Without anything pre-recorded, in an open and direct discussion," he said.
"It seems to me, it would be interesting both for Russian people and for the US people, as well as for many other countries," Putin added.
He had previously reacted to the comments by wishing Biden 'good health' at a news conference, CNN reported.
"It's true, we really know each other personally. What would I answer him? I would tell him: be healthy... I wish him good health. I say this without irony, no jokes. This is first of all," he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said that Biden had no regrets about his comments.
"Nope. The President gave a direct answer to a direct question," she said.
"President Biden has known President Putin for a long time, they've both been on the global stage for a long time worked through many iterations of a relationship between the United States and Russia. And he believes we can continue to do that," she added
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also slammed Biden's remarks, telling reporters that "there hasn't been anything like this in history", mentioning that Biden does not want to improve relations with Russia, CNN reported.
"These are very bad statements by the President of the United States. He definitely does not want to improve relations with us, and we will continue to proceed from this," Peskov said.
Russia also pulled its US Ambassador on Wednesday in response to the comments with Peskov revealing the diplomat, Anatoly Antonov, had been "invited" back to Moscow to discuss Russia-US relations.
"Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has been summoned to Moscow for consultations in order to analyse what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States," read the foreign ministry's statement.
"The most important thing for us is to identify ways of rectifying Russia-US relations, which have been going through hard times as Washington has, as a matter of fact, brought them to a blind alley. We are interested in preventing an irreversible deterioration in relations if the Americans become aware of the risks associated with this," the statement added.
A declassified report by US intelligence released on Tuesday stated that Russia and Iran undertook campaigns to influence the 2020 Presidential election, but intelligence agencies found no evidence that foreign actors tried to alter votes or other technical aspects of the voting process.
According to The Hill, the two foreign campaigns sought to influence the election for different results -- Russia, to promote Trump for the second term at the White House, while Iran went against him -- but among five key judgments outlined in the declassified report is that no foreign actor interfered in the 2020 voting process.
The report pointed out that a key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to Russian intelligence to "launder influence narratives including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations" against Biden -- through US media orgzations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, some of whom were close to former President Trump and his administration.
( With inputs from ANI )
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor