The Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin’s offer to speak by phone with US President Joe Biden was aimed at preventing bilateral ties from collapsing completely following the US leader’s remark that his Russian counterpart was a killer.
Putin made it clear that “it made sense to have a discussion to maintain Russian-American relations instead of exchanging beards,” and he wanted to make it public to help defuse tensions over ” Biden, “said spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. .
In an interview that aired Wednesday, Biden said “yes” when asked if he thought Putin was a “killer.”
Russia responded by recalling its ambassador to Washington for consultations, and Putin on Thursday highlighted the American history of slavery, the massacre of Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II in a “it takes one to do so.” know one ”. reply.
At the same time, Putin noted that Russia will continue to cooperate with the United States where and when it supports Moscow’s interests, adding that “a lot of decent and decent people in the United States want to have peace and friendship. with Russia ”.
He offered a phone call with Biden in the coming days to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, regional conflicts and other issues, and he suggested the conversation be open to the public.
Peskov said Putin’s offer to go public was aimed at preventing Biden’s statement from inflicting irreparable damage to already frayed ties.
“Because Biden’s words are unprecedented, unprecedented formats cannot be ruled out,” Peskov said. “President Putin has offered to openly discuss the situation as it would be of interest to the peoples of both countries.”
Peskov said the Kremlin had not received a response from the White House on the appeal offer, adding that he was not going to repeat the proposal.
“The request has been made,” he said on a conference call with reporters. “Failure to respond would mean a refusal to have a conversation.”
Appeals between heads of state are normally conducted out of the public eye, but with one exception last June, the opening portion of Putin’s video call with French President Emmanuel Macron was televised.
Taking a tough stance on Russia, Biden said the days when the United States “returned” to Putin were over. And he took the trouble to contrast his style with the approach of former President Donald Trump, who avoided direct confrontation with Putin and often spoke of him with approval.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would continue to seek cooperation in efforts to stem Iran’s nuclear program and, more broadly, nuclear non-proliferation. But she said Biden didn’t regret calling Putin a killer and brushed off suggestions that the rhetoric was unnecessary.
Russia’s relations with the United States and the European Union had already plunged to post-Cold War lows after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, interference in the elections , hacking attacks and, more recently, the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after his poisoning. , which he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have dismissed the charges.
Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, announced that Russian-American relations will remain very strained in the years to come and spoke of the need to focus on preventing any military incident between them.
“The most important thing in dealing with the United States from a foreseeable perspective is to avoid unintentional military conflict,” Trenin said in a commentary, adding that Moscow and Washington have the necessary channels of communication. “It is necessary to prevent possible incidents between the armed forces of Russia, the United States and their allies, their planes and ships, or if they still occur, to resolve them immediately.
On Wednesday, the office of the U.S. National Intelligence Director released a report that Putin authorized influence operations to aid Trump’s re-election bid. The Biden administration has warned that Russia will soon face sanctions for its attempt to influence the election and the massive SolarWinds hacks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been part of the controversy, saying Biden’s statement about Putin was “unworthy of a head of state.”
“It is really not acceptable or acceptable for a head of state to use such an expression against the head of a state like Russia,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul. He praised Putin’s response as “very clever and elegant”.
Erdogan’s comments came as Turkey’s efforts to restore troubled relations with the United States remain unanswered. Since Biden’s inauguration in January, he has not had a phone conversation with Erdogan.