Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman demanded an apology from Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly for suggesting Putin is a killer during a Sunday night interview with President Donald Trump.
O’Reilly pressed Trump on his past statements regarding Putin and potential cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in the fight against the Islamic State. Trump highlighted the potential relationship between the two countries, to which O’Reilly replied “But he’s a killer though,” adding, “Putin’s a killer.”
Putin’s right-hand man and spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized the question in a Monday call with reporters saying, “We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company.”
Trump demurred on calling Putin a killer, and countered that the U.S. itself is “not so innocent.” Putin has been implicated in a number of high level of political assassinations.
Political murder was a time honored tradition in the former Soviet Union, and a New York Times investigation reveals a number of Kremlin opponents dying with increasing frequency.
Political murder, even outside Russian borders, was sanctioned by the Russian parliament in 2006. Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who defected to Britain, died of radiation poisoning in 2006 after Kremlin agents reportedly slipped radioactive material into a cup of his favorite tea.
“The government is using the special services to liquidate its enemies,” former KGB officer and former member of the Russian parliament, Gennadi V. Gudkov, told The New York Times. “It was not just Litvinenko, but many others we don’t know about, classified as accidents or maybe semi-accidents.”
“Too many of these happening to important people. Captains of industry and lawyers are not dying left, right and center like this in the West,” William Browder, an American financier involved in pushing sanctions on Russia through Congress told The New York Times.
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