MOSCOW – The Kremlin said Friday that President Vladimir Putin's offer to speak by phone with U.S. President Joe Biden was intended to prevent bilateral ties from completely falling apart over the American's remark that the Russian leader was a killer.
Putin made it clear that “it makes sense to have a talk to maintain Russia-U.S. relations instead of trading barbs,” and he wanted to make it public to help defuse tensions over Biden's “very bad remarks,” said his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
Asked by reporters Friday if he'll take Putin up on his offer to have a call, Biden said, “I’m sure we’ll talk at some point.”
In an interview broadcast Wednesday, Biden replied “I do” when asked if he thought Putin was a “killer.” Russia responded by recalling its ambassador in Washington for consultations and Putin on Thursday pointed at the U.S. history of slavery, slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II in an “it-takes-one-to-know-one” response.
At the same time, Putin noted that Russia would still cooperate with the United States where and when it supports Moscow’s interests, adding that “a lot of honest and decent people in the U.S. want to have peace and friendship with Russia.”
He proposed the phone call with Biden in the next few days to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, regional conflicts and other issues, and he suggested that the conversation be open to the public.
Peskov said Putin's offer to make the call public was intended to prevent Biden's statement from inflicting irreparable damage to the already-frayed ties.
“Since Biden's words were quite unprecedented, unprecedented formats can't be excluded,” Peskov said. “President Putin proposed to discuss the situation openly because it would be interesting for the people of both countries.”