Russia upped its challenge to Democrat President Joe Biden on Friday after the Biden administration did not respond to a challenge from Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a discussion during a live broadcast public event.
Putin’s challenge came in response to Biden claiming that Putin was a “killer” this week during an interview with ABC News.
“I would say to him: I wish you good health,” Putin initially said on Thursday. “Although they think we are the same as them, we are different people; we have a different genetic and cultural-moral code. But we know how to defend our own interests, and we will work with them but in those areas in which we are interested and on terms we consider favorable for us. And they will have to reckon with that.”
Later, when speaking on television, Putin, according to Reuters, “cited a Russian children’s playground chant to scathingly respond to Biden’s accusation with the comment that ‘he who said it, did it.’”
“I want to offer President Biden to continue our discussion but on the condition that we do it live, online, without any delays but in an open, direct discussion,” Putin said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the challenge during Thursday’s press briefing.
Here is the exchange:
REPORTER: While you’ve been briefing, President Putin has just extended an invitation to President Biden to continue their conversation, but this time he wants to do it live. He’s asking for a livestreamed conversation, an open, direct dialogue. Putin says he’s available tomorrow or Monday. Is this something that you would consider?
PSAKI: I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we are entertaining. I would say that the President already had a conversation already with President Putin, even if — as there are more world leaders that he has not yet engaged with. And we engage with Russian leaders, members of the government at all levels, but 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.
The Russian government raised the stakes on Friday, saying that it has formally reached out to the Biden administration to arrange the meeting under the conditions that Putin offered and that it has yet to hear back.
“An inquiry has been made and there is either an answer or the absence of an answer to it,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “The absence of an answer is generally a refusal from such communication.”
The Russian government made clear that Putin “meant a public conversation that would be open to the people of the two countries.”
Biden, 78, has set a record for modern-day presidents by going nearly two full months without holding a press conference where he would be subjected to questioning from reporters.
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