President Vladimir Putin says it takes one to know one after the US president said he thought Putin was a killer, adding that he wished Joe Biden good health.
Putin was speaking on television after Biden, in an ABC News interview that prompted Russia to recall its Washington DC ambassador for consultations on Wednesday, said “I do” when asked if he believed the Russian president was a killer.
Biden also described Putin as having no soul and said he would pay a price for alleged Russian government meddling in the November 2020 US presidential election, something the Kremlin denies.
“I remember in my childhood, when we argued in the courtyard we used to say: it takes one to know one. And that’s not a coincidence, not just a children’s saying or joke,” Putin said.
“We always see our own traits in other people and think they are like how we really are. And as a result we assess (a person’s) activities and give assessments,” he said.
“As he (Biden) said, we know each other personally. What would I reply to him? I would say: I wish you health. I wish you health. I say that without any irony or joke,” Putin added.
In a highly unusual move following Biden’s interview, Russia said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States for urgent consultations over the future of US-Russia ties.
Shortly before Putin spoke, the Kremlin’s spokesman said Biden’s remarks showed he had no interest in fixing ties with officials in Moscow.
“These are really bad remarks by the US president. He has clearly shown that he doesn’t want to improve relations with our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“We will now proceed from that.”
“Of course, this hasn’t happened before in history,” Peskov told reporters, describing the state of bilateral relations as “really bad”.
Konstantin Kosachyov, deputy chairman of parliament’s upper house, said Biden’s comments were unacceptable, would inevitably inflame already bad ties and ended any hope in Moscow of a change of US policy under the new administration.
He said the Russian recall of its ambassador was the only reasonable step to take in the circumstances.
“I suspect it will not be the last one if no explanation or apology follows from the American side,” Kosachyov said in a Facebook post.
“This kind of assessment is not allowed from the mouth of a statesman of such a rank. This kind of statement is not acceptable under any circumstances,” he added, calling it a watershed moment in US-Russia ties.