Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted angrily after President Biden agreed in an interview that the Kremlin leader was “a killer.”
“It takes one to know one,” Putin said on national television, adding that the children’s taunt had a “very deep meaning.” People often see themselves reflected in others, Putin said, suggesting that Biden was projecting on him American guilt for slavery and the treatment of Native Americans.
Biden’s off-hand comment in an interview Wednesday with ABC News has ended months of tight-lipped anticipation in Moscow about where relations might head under the new administration. Hopes were not particularly high for the relationship, which Putin said in November was so spoiled that it couldn’t be spoiled any more.
The Kremlin is finding itself in an increasingly tense standoff with the West. Russia is believed to be behind the SolarWinds hack that breached U.S. government and industry computer networks, and the United States has joined its European allies in condemning the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most vocal critic. Last month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Russia might cut ties with the European Union over sanctions related to Navalny.