UPDATED @ 4:09 PM (EST) – CORRECTION: BIDEN TO VISIT U.S. STATE OF GEORGIA, NOT THE COUNTRY
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded coldly Thursday to U.S. President Joe Biden considering him a killer by bringing up controversial parts of U.S. history and present-day issues, and challenged Biden to debate him.
In an ABC interview that aired on Wednesday, Biden was asked whether he thought Putin was a killer, to which he replied: “I do.” The comment spurred Russia to recall its ambassador in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, warning of the possibility of an “irreversible deterioration of relations.”
During a Thursday video call commemorating the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, Putin was asked about Biden’s remark, and he responded by saying the U.S. has had dark periods in its own history and should acknowledge its shortcomings.
“We often project on other people that which…we are, in essence,” the Russian leader said.
“I would tell him: Be healthy,” Putin went on to say. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, without joking.”
“I’ve just thought of this now,” Putin told a Russian state television reporter at another point. “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.”
Although, after his invitation, the Russian leader said he didn’t want to delay, suggesting he and Biden hold the discussion as early as Friday.
“I don’t want to put this off for long. I want to go the taiga this weekend to relax a little,” Putin said. “So we could do it tomorrow or Monday. We are ready at any time convenient for the American side.”
“We must continue our relations,” he noted. “Last time, President Biden initiated a call and now I would like to offer President Biden to continue our discussions. It would be in the interest of both Russian and the U.S. people and other countries, bearing in mind that we bear a special responsibility for global security as the largest nuclear powers.”
The back-and-forth between the two global heads of state comes after a declassified U.S. intelligence report that found Putin authorized operations to try to help former President Donald Trump to win reelection back in November. The Kremlin has denied the report’s statements, calling it baseless.
In the same ABC interview Wednesday, when asked about the report, Biden vowed that Putin “will pay the price”.
Biden’s administration has warned that Russia would face sanctions soon over its attempt to influence the 2020 presidential election and the massive Solar Wind hacks.
Responding to reporters’ questions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday indicated the proposed conversation was unlikely to occur, noted that Biden is scheduled on Friday to visit to Georgia in the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings at massage parlors that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian-American women.
RELATED: Atlanta Shootings: The Latest
“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,” Psaki said, noting Biden still had other word leaders to talk with. “The president, of course, will be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy,” she said.
Psaki also said that Biden will continue to try to work with his Russian counterpart on areas of mutual interest. Though, she said that the U.S. president is “not going to hold back” when he has concerns about Putin’s actions.
Biden had no regrets describing to Putin as a killer, Psaki added.
“President Biden has known President Putin for a long time,” Psaki also said. “They’ve both been on the global stage for a long time, worked through many iterations of a relationship between the United States and Russia. And he believes we can continue to do that.”
She also rejected Putin’s response about the United States’ past and current problems, saying, “The president believes that one of the greatest attributes of the United States is our honest self-reflection, and our constant striving for progress and there’s always more work to do.”
In his Thursday comments, Putin brought up the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan during World War II, as well as its history of slavery and massacring Native Americans.
“Otherwise, where would the Black Lives Matter movement come from?” he said, referencing the killing of Black Americans and racial injustice.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind
As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.
On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.
The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.
The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”
Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.
As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.
American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”
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