Russian diplomats have gone on the offensive this week following Joe Biden’s “killer” accusation made against Vladimir Putin. The 46th U.S President called Putin a killer amid claims that Moscow would pay the price for their involvement in last year’s US election. The Russian President shrugged off the remark, saying: “takes one to know one”, as US relations with Russia continue to decline in the post-Trump era. 

US intelligence agencies, who are currently investigating the role Moscow played in the November US election, claim that Russia had attempted to meddle with the polls in an effort to keep former President Donald Trump in office for a second term. 

The report made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the Moscow Kremlin had been responsible for spreading misleading and false information about Biden via Russian proxies that were later fed to Trump’s personal lawyer. This involvement would work to condemn the Democratic Party and its leader, while inciting Trump’s false claim that he had won last year’s election and had been wrongfully ousted from the White House. 

In 2016, US intelligence declared that Russia was behind efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign against Trump. 

Entering into Biden’s first term in office, the relationship between the two counties appeared to be at breaking point. Before his election last year, Biden had referred to Putin as a “KGB thug”, alluding to this past involvement in the Soviet secret service. The US is still seeking to determine the damages done by a cyber-attack on federal bodies, carried out last year by hackers from Russia’s military spy agency GRU. As well as this, the US are yet to reveal countermeasures in response to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny last year, seemingly authorised by the Russian State. 

Although, last year Putin said that he would work with any US administration in order to improve relations between both countries – a remark that many political editors later viewed as dubious after concurring that Putin’s comments were made simply as a reaction to Trump’s looming electoral loss.  

However, the ongoing exchange between two of the world’s most influential leaders is now adding fuel to an already fragile and increasingly hostile relationship. 

President Putin continued to turn the tables on Biden, speaking in direct reply to his American counterpart in an interview that marked the anniversary of yet another area of disagreement between both nations – Russia’s annexation of Crimea: “We always see our own traits in other people and think they are like how we really are.” The back-and-forth continued with Putin requesting that virtual talks with Biden take place later this week. Biden has since refused Putin’s invitation to hold talks. 

As the situation remains ongoing, both leaders have shown signs of aggravation – the Moscow Kremlin recalled its Russian ambassador to Washington for the first time in two decades on Wednesday. The Russian embassy released a statement suggesting that: “the conclusions of the report… are confirmed solely by the confidence of the intelligence services of their self-righteousness”. Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy chair of the Russian Parliament’s upper house and spokesperson, added to that, saying further measures would be taken unless: “the American side does not offer an explanation or apology”. 

While Biden has continued to throw accusations at Russia, despite the US government report confirming that no foreign government had altered the voting process or ultimately compromised the outcome, it is expected that the US will work to impose sanctions on Russia as soon as the final report is released later next week. 

Whether Putin is in fact a killer has yet to be conclusively confirmed. In 2016, a judge in the UK cited that the Russian president may have approved the assassination of the former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Nonetheless, the ongoing Biden-Putin tussle is causing further anger, resentment, and hostility between the two nations.

Picture Credit: Gage Skidmore

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