In deteriorating relations with Russia, the White House shut down a request by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to hold an open public conversation.
Putin appeared on Russian state-TV after Biden referred to him as a “killer” in an interview Wednesday and said he was ready to hold talks with Biden on the relationship between the two countries and other regional conflicts, saying he would have his foreign ministry set something up for Friday or Monday.
But White House press secretary Jen Psaki rebuffed the invitation saying Putin and Biden have “different perspectives on their respective countries.”
“We are confident that we can continue to look for ways where there’s a mutual interest – mutual national interest,” Psaki said. ”But the president is not going to hold back, clearly, when he has concerns, whether it is with words or actions.”
She also said that Biden and Putin spoke in January “even as there are more world leaders that he has not yet engaged with.”
I don’t have anything to report to you in terms of a future meeting. The president will, of course, be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy,” Psaki added.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Biden was asked if he thought Putin was a “killer.”
“I do,” the president said.
Biden also claimed he and the Russian leader had a conversation about the fact that he doesn’t believe Putin has a soul.
Biden said he told the Russian leader, “I said, ‘I looked through your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,’ ” the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — and Putin looked back and replied, “We understand each other.”
Putin went on Russian TV to continue the media sparring, telling Biden “it takes one to know one” and wishing the US president “good health” without “any irony or joke.”
“We always see our own traits in other people and think they are like how we really are. And as a result, we assess (a person’s) activities and give assessments,” Putin said.
Russia has recalled its ambassador to Washington, DC in retaliation and demanded that Biden apologize to Putin for the “killer” comment.