Biden slams ‘soulless killer’ Putin
US President Joe Biden has labelled Vladimir Putin a "killer with no soul", stating that the Russian President will face consequences for allegedly trying to steer the 2020 election in Donald Trump's favour.
"He will pay a price," Mr Biden told ABC News in the US during an interview that aired on Wednesday morning (local time).
Asked by the Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos what the consequences would be, Mr Biden said: "You'll see shortly."
Asked if he thought Mr Putin, who is accused of being ruthless with his opponents, is "a killer," Mr Biden said, "I do."
The statement marked a stark contrast with predecessor Donald Trump's steadfast refusal to say anything negative about the Russian president.
Mr Biden's comments come after a US declassified intelligence report on Tuesday (local time) boosted longstanding allegations that Mr Putin was behind Moscow's election interference, by proliferating "misleading or unsubstantiated allegations" largely designed to denigrate Mr Biden and bolster Mr Trump's re-election, some fed through allies of the former US president.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Biden told @GStephanopoulos that he agreed Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "killer" and will "pay a price" for interfering in U.S. elections. https://t.co/rIe2ms8sSvpic.twitter.com/VtAGCvF9hp— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 17, 2021
Russia called the findings baseless.
Mr Biden said he had spoken to Mr Putin in January after taking office. "We had a long talk, he and I, I know him relatively well," Mr Biden said.
"The conversation started off, I said, 'I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared," Mr Biden said.
He did not specify if he meant Russia interfering in the US election or other behaviour to which the US objects, such as the poisoning and jailing of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Russia reacted furiously to Mr Biden's comments on Mr Putin being a "killer."
"Biden insulted the citizens of our country with his statement," the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, wrote on his Telegram channel, adding that attacks on Mr Putin are "attacks on our country."
Originally published as Biden slams 'soulless killer' Putin