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Kremlin criticises Biden as he calls Putin a ‘crazy SOB’

The Kremlin has said a remark by US President Joe Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “crazy SOB” was shameful, and was a poor attempt to appear like a “Hollywood cowboy”.

The US president made the comment during a fundraiser in San Francisco yesterday, and also said there was always a threat of nuclear conflict although the existential threat to humanity remained the climate.

“We have a crazy SOB like that guy Putin, and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict, but the existential threat to humanity is climate,” Mr Biden said in a brief speech at the event in San Francisco that was attended by a small group of reporters.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The use of such language against the head of another state by the president of the United States is unlikely to infringe on our president, President Putin.

“But it debases those who use such vocabulary.”

Mr Peskov said the remark was “probably some kind of attempt to look like a Hollywood cowboy. But honestly I don’t think it’s possible.”

“Has Mr Putin ever used one crude word to address you? This has never happened. Therefore, I think that such vocabulary debases America itself,” Mr Peskov said.

He later added in comments to a state television reporter: “This is a disgrace for the country itself, I mean the United States.”

The war in Ukraine, the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and US assertions that Russia plans to put a nuclear weapon in space have led to the biggest crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

Some Russian and US diplomats say they do not remember a time when relations between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers were worse, including during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Mr Biden said last week after prison officers announced Navalny’s death in a Russian penal colony that it was “a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.” Navalny had previously accused Mr Putin of trying to kill him, an allegation the Kremlin denied.

Russian officials say the West rushed to blame Mr Putin without waiting for evidence. The Kremlin says the West’s reaction to Navalny’s death is unacceptable and unjustified.

Mr Biden said in a speech in Warsaw in 2022 that Mr Putin “cannot remain in power”. The White House played down the remark, while hardliners in Russia saw it as evidence that the US wanted to topple Mr Putin.

In 2021, Mr Biden said he thought Mr Putin a killer. Mr Putin said Mr Biden phoned him later to give an explanation of why he used such words.

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