KEY POINTS

  • Biden doesn't regret calling Putin "a killer"
  • The Biden administration is confident it can establish a mutual national interest with Russia
  • Putin suggested that Biden is the one who is a killer

President Joe Biden is not showing any reservations in confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin after being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America" on Wednesday. When Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he thought Putin was "a killer," Biden answered "Mhmm. I do." 

Biden also promised tough actions against a range of clandestine Russian attacks, including a misinformation campaign during the 2020 presidential race.

"The president gave a direct answer to a direct question," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing on Thursday. Psaki revealed that the president had no regrets about how he answered the question of whether Putin is a killer. 

She told reporters the administration will look for ways to share "mutual national interest" with Russia, but  also said "the president is not going to hold back, clearly, when he has concerns whether it is with words or actions.”

“We continue to believe that diplomacy is the first step and should always be the first step, should be our objective, as we pursue all relationships -- even with our adversaries,” she added.

While being interviewed on "Good Morning America," Biden also warned of plans to retaliate against Putin after reports found evidence that the Russian leader authorized a misinformation campaign that attempted to undermine his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election. 

“He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I…know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared,'” Biden told Stephanopoulos 

Putin on Thursday appeared on Russian national television, where he slammed Biden for his off-hand comments and suggested that Biden was a killer himself. 

“When I was a child, when we argued in the courtyard, we said the following: ‘If you call someone names, that’s really your name.’ When we characterize other people, or even when we characterize other states, other people, it is always as though we are looking in the mirror,” Putin said

“It takes one to know one,” he added. 

Putin then challenged Biden to have a conversation with him to discuss the U.S. president’s warning of retaliation against Russia. 

“I want to invite President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it actually live. But with no delays, directly in an open, direct discussion,” Putin said

US President Joe Biden said he agrees with the assessment that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a 'killer' US President Joe Biden said he agrees with the assessment that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a 'killer' Photo: SPUTNIK / Alexei Druzhinin