Vladimir Putin Challenges Joe Biden To A Live Debate Over ‘Killer’ Comments

(Photo by ALEXEY DRUZHININ/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged President Joe Biden to a “direct discussion” after the American president called him a “killer” this week.

Putin told Russian state television he’d like to have the conversation as soon as Friday. “I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”

The terms of Putin’s offer can essentially be characterized as a debate, but interest in such an event appeared to be fairly one-sided. When asked about the offer Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we’re entertaining. I would say that the president already had a conversation with President Putin.” She added Biden would be visiting Georgia Friday and is “quite busy.”

Tensions between Moscow and Washington, D.C. are flaring after Biden called Putin a “killer” with “no soul” in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. The verbal attack prompted Russia to withdraw its ambassador from the United States. Biden says he told Putin to his face that he doesn’t “have a soul.”

Putin responded by wishing Biden “good health.” He reportedly claimed he said that “without irony and not as a joke.” (RELATED: ‘Mortal Risk’: Commerce Department Tightens Restrictions On Exports To Russia Over Use Of Chemical Weapons On Its Own People)

Regarding the “killer” accusation, Putin also said, “it takes one to know one.” Konstantin Kosachyov, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said Russia wants an apology from the U.S. for the remarks. “This position was taken by the president of the [United States] that, according to professional estimates, bombs someplace on the planet every 12 minutes,” Kosachyov said.

The week began with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issuing a report that Russia and Iran attempted to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. Thursday, Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened to sanction entities involved with Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which would transport natural gas from Russia to the European Union.