Kremlin blasts Joe Biden’s refusal to hold online talks with Vladimir Putin as ‘missed opportunity’

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Kremlin blasts Joe Biden’s refusal to hold online talks with Vladimir Putin as ‘missed opportunity’

Moscow said on Monday that President Joe Biden's refusal to participate in an online chat with Vladimir Putin is a 'missed opportunity' as relations c

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Moscow said on Monday that President Joe Biden‘s refusal to participate in an online chat with Vladimir Putin is a ‘missed opportunity’ as relations continue to deteriorate between the two nation. 

Meanwhile, the United States is expected to announce a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin this week over its alleged meddling in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

But Russia is casting its offer to hold talks as a peace offering intended to keep bilateral relations from completely falling apart.

‘We note with regret that the American side has not supported (Putin’s) proposal to hold talks with U.S President Biden,’ Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.  ‘Another opportunity has been missed to search for a way out of the dead end in Russian-American relations caused by Washington. Responsibility for this lies entirely with the United States.’

Biden told ABC News last week that Moscow will ‘pay a price’ for its election interference. The United States is expected to impose sanctions that could range from freezing the U.S. assets of Russians to curbing Moscow’s ability to issue sovereign debt, Reuters reported. 

The punishment comes as Biden has taken a combative stance with Moscow, which has provoked a furious response from the Kremlin. 

Moscow called Joe Biden's refusal to participate in an online chat with Vladimir Putin a 'missed opportunity'

Moscow called Joe Biden’s refusal to participate in an online chat with Vladimir Putin a ‘missed opportunity’

The United States is expected to announce a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin this week over its alleged meddling in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The United States is expected to announce a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin this week over its alleged meddling in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The latest round of sanctions would be in response to a report from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence that found Russian intelligence officials fed disinformation to Donald Trump allies about the Bidens during the 2020 president campaign as part of an election influence effort. 

It even said proxies for Putin himself pushed ‘misleading or ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations about Biden during the campaign in an effort to help Trump, who was Moscow’s preferred candidate.

Russia denies the meddling charge. 

The sanctions would also be in response to Moscow’s role in the massive SolarWinds hack and its placing of bounties on US troops serving in Afghanistan – both of which the Kremlin has denied. 

The Biden administration announced its first sanctions against Russia in early March after it declassified a report that found the Kremlin attempted to poison dissidents, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year and the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018. Among those hit with sanctions was the director of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the FSB.

President Biden has taken a much tough stance on Moscow than his predecessor, Donald Trump, and has not held back when it comes to criticizing his Russian counterpart. Last week he called Putin a ‘killer’ with no soul, a set of remarks that infuriated the Kremlin, causing Moscow to recall its U.S. ambassador.

Biden said on Friday he will speak to Putin ‘at some point’ after the Russian leader offered to hold an online chat with him to discuss rising tensions between the two nations.

‘I’m sure we’ll talk at some point,’ Biden told reporters at the White House before he left for a trip to Atlanta.  

President Joe Biden said he will speak to Vladimir Putin 'at some point' after the Russian leader offered to hold an online chat

President Joe Biden said he will speak to Vladimir Putin ‘at some point’ after the Russian leader offered to hold an online chat

But the White House has doubled down on its strong stance, saying Biden had no regrets when it came to his comments. 

Possible Sanctions

Among the punitive tools in President Joe Biden’s arsenal are:

– Executive Order 13848, under which the U.S. government can freeze the U.S. assets of any foreign individual or entity found to have directly or indirectly interfered in a U.S. election;

– Executive Orders 13757 and 13694, which enables Washington to freeze the U.S. assets of those engaging in ‘cyber-enabled’ activities from abroad that threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability;

– Executive Order 13818, which implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and lets Washington freeze the U.S. assets and bar the U.S. entry of foreigners who commit human rights violations or engage in corruption;

— the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which, among other things, authorizes the president to bar U.S. banks from lending to a country that used chemical weapons.

Reuters 

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‘No, the president gave a direct answer to a direct question,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded on Thursday when asked if Biden regrets his words. 

In return, the Russian president upped the stakes, offering to hold public talks via an online method – such as Zoom – with Biden and directing his foreign ministry to reach out to the Americans.  

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, on Friday.

And in a provocative move, Putin appeared on stage Thursday during a concert marking the seventh anniversary of Crimea annexation, despite strong condemnation of the ‘occupation’ by the Group of Seven. 

Meanwhile, Putin has been snapping back at Biden since the president made his comments in an interview with ABC News, including wishing his American counterpart ‘good health.’

And Putin gave his own strong response to Biden’s ‘killer’ accusation, saying that ‘it takes one to know one.’

‘We always see in another person our own qualities and think that he is the same as us,’ Putin said.  

In the interview, he criticized Biden for America’s past atrocities, including the slaughter of Native Americans and holding black people as slaves, and argued that has led to current racial tensions in the United States. 

‘Otherwise where would the Black Lives Matter movement come from,’ Putin argued.  

He then offered his own message to the American president. 

‘I would say to him: I wish you good health,’ Putin said. ‘I say that without irony and not as a joke.’ 

Psaki declined to comment on Putin’s comments to Russian state TV and what they might mean. 

‘I’ve been doing this long enough not to try to get in the mind of President Putin,’ Psaki, who served as a spokesperson in the State Department during the Obama administration, said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen above speaking during the concert marking the seventh anniversary of the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, offered to hold a public call with Biden amid escalating tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen above speaking during the concert marking the seventh anniversary of the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, offered to hold a public call with Biden amid escalating tensions

Russia is demanding an apology from the United States for Biden’s ‘killer’ comment. The provocative comments prompted the Kremlin to make the highly unusual move last week to recall Anatoly Antonov, its ambassador to the US, for urgent consultations over the future of US-Russia ties. 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was a ‘very bad statement by the U.S. president’ that made it clear that ‘he doesn’t want to normalize relations.’

‘He clearly does not want to improve relations with our country, and we will be proceeding based precisely on this,’ Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.  ‘There hasn’t been anything like this in history.’  

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