US President Joe Biden does not regret calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin a killer during a national television interview this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
Putin on Thursday responded that it takes one to know one, adding that he wished Biden good health.
Psaki said Biden had no regrets in response to questions whether the president was concerned that his comments escalated an already strained relationship.
Biden also described Putin as having no soul in the ABC News interview, and said he would pay a price for alleged Russian meddling in the November 2020 US presidential election, something the Kremlin denies.
When asked whether he believed Putin was a killer, Biden replied “I do.”
The interview prompted Russia to recall its Washington ambassador for consultations on Wednesday.
Konstantin Kosachev, a deputy speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, said Biden’s “boorish statement” marks a watershed.
“Such assessments are inadmissible for a statesman of his rank,” Kosachev said. “Such statements are unacceptable under any circumstances. They inevitably lead to a sharp exacerbation of our bilateral ties.”
Commenting on the Russian move Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized that “we will be direct, we will speak out on areas where we have concerns, and it will certainly be, as the president said last night — certainly, the Russians will be held accountable for the actions that they have taken.”