Russia has called its ambassador to the United States back “for consultations,” the country’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, just hours after comments from President Joe Biden criticizing Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova no specific reasons given for calling back Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, but pointed out that Moscow-Washington relations had “gone through difficult times” and accused Washington of “leading them to an impasse”.
In a separate interview on Thursday, Zakharova stated that “consultations” with Antonov “will last as long as they need,” according to the Russian state news agency Tass.
While Zakharova did not mention Biden’s comments directly in her statement, the Russian embassy in the US released its own comment early Thursday accusing “certain rash statements by high-ranking US officials” of causing “already overly confrontational relationships to collapse.” “. “
The move to remember Antonov did not come long after a television interview in which Biden was asked if he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin was a murderer and said, “I do.”
Biden confirmed in the interview that he once told Putin that he would not do it “have a soul” During a visit to the Kremlin as Vice President in 2011, Putin replied, “We understand each other.”
Biden also said Russia would have repercussions for meddling in last year’s presidential election a shared report The office of the U.S. intelligence director found earlier this week that Putin was authorizing influence operations to aid Donald Trump in last November’s elections.
“(Putin) will pay a price,” Biden told ABC News, asking about the report. Biden did not reveal the price Putin could pay, just said, “You will see shortly.”
The Kremlin had previously dismissed the allegations in the report as unfounded.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that Biden’s remarks were “very bad”.
“I’m not going to be verbose,” said Peskov. “I’m just going to say that these are very bad statements by the US President.”
“He definitely does not want to improve relations with our country,” he added.
Peskov said he couldn’t say whether Putin intended to respond directly to Biden’s comments.
The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it was aware of Russia’s decision to call the ambassador back.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration would take a more direct and direct approach to its relations with Russia than former President Donald Trump.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been strained since Biden took office.
The arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after being poisoned with a nerve agent last year marked the first test the Biden government had in dealing with the Kremlin.
In coordination with the European Union, the US announced earlier this month sanctions against high-ranking members of the Russian government in connection with the Navalny poisoning.
The sanctions were the first against Moscow since Biden became president and opened a full review of US-Russia policies, including the Kremlin’s actions against Navalny, meddling in the US elections, the Solar Winds hack, and reporting of bounties , Taliban-affiliated groups were offered to target US forces in Afghanistan.
The only moment of cooperation between the two nations since Biden came to power when the US and Russia renewed an important nuclear weapons control treaty last month.
On Thursday, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign committee of the Russian upper house of parliament, said Biden calling Putin a murderer was a “turning point”.
“All expectations of the new US administration’s new policy in relation to the Russian direction have been written off by this crude statement,” said Kosachev in a Facebook post.
He called Antonov’s recall an appropriate response from the Kremlin, adding that this will not be Russia’s last move unless there is an explanation or apology from the American side.
Tatyana Chistikova contributed.