A war of words has erupted between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. Senator john McCain over a host of subjects.
Putin, who is facing unprecedented opposition to his rule in Russia, has also taken swipes at Russian protesters, western policy in Libya, as well as the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.
In a television interview on Thursday, he blasted McCain as ‘crazy’ after the Arizona senator and war hero suggested that Russia will soon undergo the type of revolution that the Arab world has witnessed over this past year.
Earlier, McCain has tweeted: Dear Vlad, the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you. He also said that the deaths and collapses of Arab dictators would make the Russian Prime Minister nervous.
In response, Putin fumed: [McCain] has a lot of blood of peaceful civilians on his hands. He must relish and can't live without the disgusting, repulsive scenes of the killing of Gaddafi.”
Referring to McCain’s war record, Putin stated: Mr. McCain was captured in Vietnam and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years. Anyone [with that experience] would go nuts.
McCain himself seemed pleased with Putin’s tirade.
Dear Vlad, McCain tweeted. Is it something I said?
Putin also alleged that the U.S. was behind the murder of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
Referring to the death of Gaddafi, Putin asked Who did this? Responding to himself, Putin said: Drones, including American ones. They attacked his column. Then using the radio - through the Special Forces, who should not have been there - they brought in the so-called opposition and fighters, and killed him without court or investigation.
The U.S. Pentagon lampooned Putin’s charges.
The assertion that US special operations forces were involved in the killing of Colonel Gaddafi is ludicrous, said Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, in a statement.
We did not have American boots on the ground in the Libya operation. All our support was done through the air and on the seas.
Moreover, Putin rejected claims by the opposition that his United Russia Party has rigged recent parliamentary elections, branding the thousands of protesters who demonstrated against him as “sheep” and asserting that they were paid by his political enemies.
He referred to the white ribbons the protesters wore, which is actually a symbol calling for fair new elections.
Frankly, when I looked at the television screen and saw something hanging from someone's chest, honestly, it's indecent. But I decided that it was propaganda to fight AIDS — that they were wearing, pardon me, a condom, he said.
“The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country. It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position.
The Prime Minister also seemed to suggest that the United States night be behind the unrest in Russia.
Sometimes it seems to me that America does not need allies, it needs vassals, he commented. People are tired of the dictates of one country [U.S.]
Putin has already accused US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton of orchestrating the protests against him.
Putin apparently has no plans to step aside and will run for president next March. He even offered to place cameras at every polling station in the country to validate the vote.
Let them be there next to every ballot box to avoid any falsifications, he said.