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Kremlin Blasts Biden After He Calls Putin ‘War Criminal,’ ‘Murderous Dictator’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The government of President Vladimir Putin entered into a war of words with Joe Biden on Friday, issuing a blistering response to the U.S. president’s earlier statements about his Russian counterpart.

In remarks to reporters, Biden called Putin a “war criminal” and a “murderous dictator” for the reported actions of some of his troops operating in Ukraine after invading late last month. Russian forces have reportedly struck several civilian targets in Ukrainian cities, killing women and children.

“We hear and see statements that are actually personal insults to President Putin,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

“Given such irritability from Mr. Biden, his fatigue and sometimes forgetfulness…fatigue that leads to aggressive statements, we will not make harsh assessments, so as not to cause more aggression.”

“We consider unacceptable and unforgivable such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world,” Peskov added.

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On Thursday, Putin gave a speech to the Russian people that blasted the West in general and sounded “Stalinesque” to some observers, as Fox News reported:

Vladimir Putin is adjusting his rhetoric following his stalled invasion of Ukraine, touching on Stalinist nostalgia and patriotic themes to boost public support for the war, which he calls a “special military operation” and claims was launched as a defensive measure.

In a speech Thursday, he peppered his remarks with “Stalin-esque” dog whistling and warnings of a “fifth column” of Russian “scum and traitors” working to undermine his ambitions from within, according to a translation of his remarks.

“The West, collectively, is trying to fracture our society … to provoke a civil conflict in Russia by means of the fifth column,” he said. “The goal is Russia’s collapse.”

He also called for a “self-purification” in order to rid his country of voices critical of his war effort while also accusing the West of “canceling” Russia on the global stage. He also claimed that Europe has “united” itself with “Hitler’s aggression” against his country.

A banner on stage as he spoke read, “For a world without Nazism,” in Russian; before he sent his military into Ukraine, he claimed Kyiv was being run by “neo-Nazis and “drug addicts.”

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“The Russian people will always be able to differentiate true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like an insect that accidentally flew in and got trapped in your mouth,” Putin continued. “I am confident that a necessary self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, and readiness to respond to any challenges.”

Biden blasted Russia and condemned Putin’s invasion on Wednesday following a video speech to U.S. lawmakers by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that included a passionate plea for assistance. In response, Biden announced. that the U.S. was sending $800 million in military aid to Ukraine — a package that includes anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons, body armor, firearms, and drones.

“Putin is inflicting appalling, appalling devastation and horror on Ukraine, bombing apartment buildings, maternity wards, hospitals. I mean, it’s god-awful,” Biden said. “The world is united in our support for Ukraine and our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price.”

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Following those remarks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing that Biden’s remarks “speak for themselves” but added that some sort of legal process is underway at the State Department.

“He was speaking from his heart and speaking from what we’ve seen on television, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator through his invasion of a foreign country,” Psaki said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not comment earlier this week on how the war in Ukraine will affect U.S.-Russian relations in the future.

“Our focus is on ending this war,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate about the future, but there’s going to have to be, one way or another, accountability for this war of aggression.’

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