Tags: biden | putin | russia | killer | jake sullivan | security

Biden Security Adviser: It Wasn't a Mistake to Call Putin a Killer

Biden Security Adviser: It Wasn't a Mistake to Call Putin a Killer
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. (Photo by Olivier Douliery DOULIERY/AFP via Getty)

By    |   Monday, 22 March 2021 04:27 PM

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it wasn’t a mistake for President Joe Biden to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a killer, but pointed out that the U.S. will have some “tough days” when it comes to dealing with Russia.

When asked about the "killer" comment during a Monday appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Sullivan said Biden was “asked a direct question” and he “gave a direct answer.” He added that Biden has operated that way for “40 plus years in public service, and it’s how he’ll continue to operate as president.”

During an interview with ABC News last week, George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he thought Putin was a killer. Putin has been accused of ordering the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and other rivals. Biden responded: "Mmm hmm, I do.”

In the same interview, Biden said that Putin “will pay a price” for meddling in the election.

The statement caused Moscow to recall its ambassador in protest. A top Russian official demanded an apology. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Washington, D.C. rejected Putin’s offer to set up a quick call with Biden to smooth over tensions. Biden and Putin did speak after Biden took office.

“One more opportunity has been missed to find a way out of the deadlock in Russian-U.S. relations created through the fault of Washington," the ministry said in a statement, adding that "responsibility for this lies entirely with the United States.”

While Sullivan doesn’t think the rhetoric has gotten out of hand, he said there will be “tough days with Russia because there are issues on which we profoundly disagree.”

He said there will be actions that the U.S. will have to respond to “forcefully.” But, he said the administration also believes it can “can work with Russia on key issues, including the nuclear question, where just in the last few weeks we’ve extended the New START agreement by five years.”

The START treaty, which was signed in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama and then- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. There are also on-site inspections to check compliance. The agreement was extended by both the U.S. and Russia just about a week before the deal was set to expire.

While both leaders agreed on the extension, Sullivan said there will be other issues where the countries clash.

“This will not be an easy relationship,” he said of U.S.-Russia relations. “It will have significant challenges. It will require America to stand up for its interests. But, there are also areas where the U.S. and Russia can work together in a stable and predictable way in the common interest of both of our countries.”

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Politics
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it wasn't a mistake for President Joe Biden to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a killer, but pointed out that the U.S. will have some "tough days" when it comes to dealing with Russia.
biden, putin, russia, killer, jake sullivan, security
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2021-27-22
Monday, 22 March 2021 04:27 PM
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