Joe Biden on brink as ‘killer Putin’ slur crosses Russia’s red lines amid troop build-up

Ukraine: Former Russian lieutenant warns of ‘global catastrophe’

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Mr Biden, when asked, recently agreed that he believed Mr Putin was a “killer”. The US has since ramped-up its rhetoric against Russia after it warned of “consequences” should President Putin act “aggressively” towards Ukraine. Tensions between Russia and the former Soviet state have in recent weeks escalated as Mr Putin’s troops increase their presence along the border.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “I have to tell you I have real concerns about Russia’s actions on the borders of Ukraine.

“That’s why we’re in very close contact, in close coordination, with our allies and partners in Europe. All of us share that concern.”

He added: “President Biden’s been very clear about this. If Russia acts recklessly, or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences.”

Since entering office, Mr Biden has taken a tough stance on Russia.

He told ABC News that Mr Putin is “going to pay, you’ll see shortly,” after he said he was a “killer”.

It marks a clear break from Donald Trump’s silence over Russia as one of the West’s biggest threats.

However, many have warned that Mr Biden’s threatening words could have unwelcome results.

Sarah Rainsford, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, speaking during the broadcaster’s ‘Start the Week’ programme warned that many in Russia saw Mr Biden’s claims as “crossing the line”, sparking fears of another Cold War.

When asked whether Mr Biden had in any way changed relations, she said: “Well, it’s not made a difference; the fact that when he was asked whether or not he agreed Putin was a killer and he said, ‘Yes’, then I think that was met with anger here.

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“State media went to town on that one, they say it as the President crossing a red line.”

Although, she added: “Vladimir Putin was rather more calm about it all, taking it in his stride, because it presents him as a powerful force: if you can’t be loved be feared, and I think he’s feared.”

On relations between Russia and the West at large, Ms Rainsford said: “It’s hard to find the right adjective to describe relations but they’re bad.

“Every time you hear Kremlin officials or politicians here talking about the situation and the relationship they can only find negatives to describe it.

“Of course they put the blame entirely on the West, they say that Russia is not a hostile or aggressive force and deny the many things Russia has and is accused of in recent years.


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“The situation is pretty dire, and it feels bad, the tone has changed, the difference in mood to when Putin came to power is very tangible.

“Things are back now around the way they were in 2014 during the war in Ukraine, the annexation in Crimea, and so it feels like a very hostile place politically to be as a Westerner and certainly the relationship between the governments is bad if not terrible.

“The thing that’s always quoted by officials is that relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War.”

In response to Mr Biden’s “killer” comment, Mr Putin told Russian TV that: “It takes one to know one.”

He challenged the US President to talk to him live on air.

Mr Putin continues to deny that his security services tried to kill opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Mr Biden last month told ABC News that Mr Putin would “pay the price” for alleged meddling in the 2020 US election.

Russia has since called back its ambassador for talks in order to prevent the “irreversible deterioration” of ties.

An American intelligence report released in March suggested Mr Putin had authorised an interference campaign in the US’ November presidential election.

It claimed that Russia attempted to tip the vote in favour of Mr Trump.

Meanwhile, Russia’s military continues to amass troops in Crimea.

The Kremlin has not yet given details about the units involved.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman, said moving troops across Russian territory was an “internal affair”.

However, he accused Ukraine of staging “provocations”.

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