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Biden calls Putin 'crazy SOB' during re-election campaign, Russian President responds

The Kremlin slammed Biden's "churlish" remark and said he behaves in "Hollywood cowboy style" to serve internal political interests. Putin had earlier said he prefers Biden over Trump as US President because the former is more experienced and predictable.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Moscow Published on: February 23, 2024 11:19 IST
US, Russia, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin
Image Source : AP US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

San Francisco: US President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a "crazy SOB" during a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in San Francisco a few days, eliciting a ironic response from the Kremlin leader on Thursday. The two leaders at loggerheads in recent years over a range of issues - including the ongoing war in Ukraine and the recent death of anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.

"We have a crazy SOB like Putin and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict, but the existential threat to humanity is climate," said Biden while talking about climate change during the campaign and also took aim at his predecessor Donald Trump, who compared himself to the deceased Navalny while alleging political persecution.

In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov remarked that Biden's "churlish" remark could hardly hurt Putin but was a "huge shame" for the US. "Clearly, Mr Biden behaves in the Hollywood cowboy style to serve internal political interests,” Peskov said.

Putin responds to Biden's remark

With an ironic smile on his face, Putin on Thursday praised Biden for his "crazy SOB" remark and said it showed why the Kremlin felt the 81-year-old was a preferable future US president to Donald Trump. Asked by Russian state television about Biden's "crude" remark, Putin smiled sarcastically and bit his lip before looking at the ground.

"We are ready to work with any president. But I believe that for us, Biden is a more preferable president for Russia, and judging by what he has just said, I am absolutely right," Putin said with a slight smile. On the other hand, Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said his embassy had sent the US State Department "a strong note of protest about the outrageous nature and unacceptability" of Biden's comments.

"It's not like he can say to me, 'Volodya, thank you, well done, you've helped me a lot'," Putin said. "You asked me which is better for us. I said it then that, and I still think I can repeat it: Biden."

Putin casts the United States and its allies as a crumbling empire that wants to destroy Russia and steal its natural resources. The West casts Putin as a dictator and a killer, and Putin's Russia as an enemy. The remarks show the difficulty for Putin in navigating the upcoming US presidential elections which is likely to bring to power either Biden, who has publicly insulted Putin, or Trump, who has promised to end the war in Ukraine swiftly.

Prefer Biden over Trump: Putin

Last week, Putin said that Russia would prefer to see Biden win a second term, describing him as more experienced than Trump. “Biden, he's more experienced, more predictable, he's a politician of the old formation,” the Russian President said. “But we will work with any US leader whom the American people trust.” 

Biden's team worked to alleviate Democratic concerns over alarms raised by a special counsel about Biden's age and memory. They came in a report determining that Biden would not be charged with any criminal activity for possessing classified documents after he left office. Putin noted that the talk about Biden's health comes as “the election campaign is gaining speed in the US, and it's taking an increasingly sharp course.” 

"They talked about him being incapacitated, but I saw nothing of the kind. Yes, he was peeking at his papers, to be honest, I was peeking at mine, not a big deal," the Kremlin leader said. At the same time, Putin noted that he sees the Biden administration policy as wrong.

Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced Moscow's action as an unprovoked act of aggression. Putin argued that Moscow was forced to act after Ukraine and its allies refused to fulfil a 2015 agreement to grant more powers to separatist territories in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists launched a rebellion in 2014.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Putin wants Trump to lose US Presidential elections, says 'Biden is more experienced, more predictable'

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