Moscow: The Kremlin said on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden’s remark that President Vladimir Putin was a “war criminal” was unforgivable, especially as it was coming from the leader of a country that has killed many civilians in conflicts around the world.
Thousands have been killed in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more than three million people have had to flee their homes and seek refuge in neigbouring countries. The confrontation between the US and Russia over the invasion has caused further tension between the two nuclear powers and has given rise to fears of a bigger conflict between them.
Biden, in reply to a reporter on Wednesday, said: “Oh I think he is a war criminal,” after first saying “no” to a question about whether he would brand Putin as one.
“Our president is a very wise, prescient and cultured international figure and head of the Russian Federation, our head of state,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to Biden’s comment.
“Such statements by Mr. Biden are absolutely impermissible, unacceptable, and unforgivable,” Peskov said. “The main thing is that the head of a state which has for many years bombed people across the world… the president of such a country has no right to make such statements.”
Peskov spoke about the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during WW II, which ended when Japan surrendered six days later. The bombings accounted for approximately 200,000 deaths and many more later died from radiation.
On Thursday, Russia warned the US that Moscow had the capacity to it in its place, accusing the West of fueling ‘Russophobia’ in order to divide the country.
Former president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said the US had stoked “disgusting” Russophobia to try and bring Russia to its knees.
“It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place,” Medvedev said.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the European Union on Wednesday that it should recognise Putin as a war criminal.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US and its European and Asian allies have placed several sanctions on Russian leaders, businessmen, and companies, which has led to an economic crisis.
Russia is cutting a brave face despite the sanctions. Calling the West deceitful and decadent, it says it can manage well enough and is looking to extend its relationships with other countries like China.