By Jack Phillips
Russia on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to the United States, coinciding with comments made by President Joe Biden about Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he “will pay a price” and would face punitive actions in the future.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, did not give specific reasons for the recall of Ambassador Anatoly Antonov but stressed that Moscow’s relations with the United States are in a “difficult state,” accusing Washington of bringing them “to a dead-end in recent years.”
“We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks,” Zakharova said.
During an ABC News interview, Biden said Putin “will pay a price” after the U.S. intelligence community released a report saying that Putin allegedly authorized intelligence operations to influence the 2020 election to denigrate Biden and support former President Donald Trump. “You’ll see shortly,” he said about what he might do.
The Kremlin on Wednesday said the U.S. intelligence report on Russian election meddling has “absolutely no foundation and evidence” and said more sanctions will hurt bilateral relations. “The conclusions of the report on Russia conducting influence operations in America are confirmed solely by the confidence of the intelligence services of their self-righteousness. No facts or specific evidence of such claims were provided,” the statement added.
The interviewer asked the president about whether he believes Putin was a killer, and Biden responded with, “Yes I do.”
“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 added.
The United States recently sanctioned seven top Russian officials for the alleged attempted poisoning and imprisonment of opposition activist Alexey Navalny, who is currently serving time in a penal colony. Human rights groups and Western leaders have called for his release.
The Tuesday intelligence community report, however, said that the Chinese Communist Party did not try to sway the election, claiming that Chinese regime leaders ultimately opted not to and would have worked with either Trump or Biden.
But Trump’s then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said earlier this year that he did not agree with the “the majority view expressed by intelligence community analysts fully and accurately reflects the scope of the Chinese government’s efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections.” Other Trump administration officials last year said that the Chinese regime was seeking to influence the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.
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