Russia Recalls Ambassador After President Biden Calls Putin A ‘Killer’ With No Soul

(Photo credit ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP via Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled the country’s ambassador to the U.S. Wednesday, hours after President Joe Biden called Putin a “killer” without a human soul.

Biden’s comments came on the heels of a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) detailing both Russian and Iranian efforts to influence the 2020 election. The Kremlin ordered ambassador Anatoly Antonov to return to Russia from Washington, D.C. for “consultations” on how to address the spiraling relations with the U.S. (RELATED: Biden’s Intel Chief Releases 2020 Election Report Confirming Russian And Iranian Interference)

“We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Axios.

“I said I know you and you know me,” Biden said during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“You said you know he doesn’t have a soul,” Stephanopoulos responded.

“I did say that to him, yes. And his response was that we understand one another,” Biden said.

“So you know Vladamir Putin, you think he’s a killer?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I do,” Biden responded.

The Biden administration has vowed consequences for Russia both for its election interference and its SolarWinds hack of U.S. agencies and more than 100 major companies. Biden has not detailed what form those consequences might take, however.

The ODNI report concurred with a Trump-era report on Russia and Iran’s interference efforts, but appeared to contradict the previous administration’s finding that China was engaging in efforts to prevent President Donald Trump’s reelection.

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” the Trump administration’s assessment claimed. “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

Biden’s ODNI now says with “high confidence” that China didn’t deploy any attempts to influence the election for either candidate. The report notes, however, that the National Intelligence Officer for Cyber believes with “moderate confidence” that “China did take some steps to try to undermine former President Trump’s reelection.”