Russian President Vladimir Putin at a concert marking the seventh anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, March 18 2021. Picture: REUTERS/SPUTNIK/VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a concert marking the seventh anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, March 18 2021. Picture: REUTERS/SPUTNIK/VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV

Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin is still hoping for a public conversation with US President Joe Biden to clear the air between the two after Biden’s confirmation that he thinks Putin is a killer, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

The White House brushed off Putin’s initial proposal, made late on Thursday in comments to state television, for a talk to be shown live on either Friday or Monday. But Peskov said Russia is going ahead with a formal request to the US to hold it at “any convenient time for the US president”.

“Mr Biden has made rather unprecedented statements,” Peskov told a conference call. “To prevent these statements from doing harm to the already sad state of bilateral relations, Putin proposed discussing the situation, but doing it openly, since it would be of interest to the people of both countries.”

Biden’s affirmative answer when asked in an interview this week with ABC News whether he thought Putin was a killer sent already tense ties to a new low. After Russia responded by summoning its ambassador from Washington, Putin fired back with a schoolyard expression that can be roughly translated as “it takes one to know one”.

He made his offer for the talk — not a debate but a discussion, according to Peskov — after a rousing speech to tens of thousands of supporters in a Moscow stadium at a celebration of the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, an event that sparked the latest round of tensions between Moscow and the West.

Putin said he’ll be busy on a wilderness trip in Siberia this weekend, but could be available at other times. The White House said Biden will be “quite busy”, noting that he already talked to Putin by phone earlier this year.

Bloomberg

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