Moscow ties close to rupture after Biden’s ‘war criminal’ remarks, Russia says

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MOSCOW (REUTERS) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry mentioned on Monday (March 21) it had summoned US Ambassador John Sullivan to inform him that remarks by President Joe Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” had pushed bilateral ties to the brink of collapse.

Mr Biden mentioned final week that Mr Putin is a “war criminal” for sending tens of hundreds of troops to invade Ukraine and concentrating on civilians.

“Such statements from the American President, unworthy of a statesman of such high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of rupture,” the ministry mentioned in a press release.

The Kremlin earlier described the feedback as “personal insults” towards Mr Putin.

The ministry additionally informed Mr Sullivan that hostile actions towards Russia would obtain a “decisive and firm response”.

State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that Mr Sullivan met with Russian officers.

But he declined to say whether or not the US envoy informed them that the United States stands behind the accusation Mr Biden levelled at Mr Putin.

Mr Price informed a information briefing that the United States believes it is crucial to keep communication channels with Russia particularly “during times of conflict.”

“We have sought to maintain a diplomatic presence in Moscow” and the United States desires Russia to maintain the same presence in Washington, he continued.  

Russia’s actions “call into question whether they, too, welcome these same open lines of communications,” Mr Price mentioned.  

Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in an interview on MSNBC, mentioned Russia’s reported assertion “just shows how desperate President Putin is becoming.”

Mr Sullivan within the assembly repeated a requirement that the United States be given consular entry to American residents detained in Russia, together with these in pretrial detention, Mr Price mentioned.  

He mentioned Russia has barred US diplomats from assembly these Americans for months in violation of worldwide legislation.  

Russia has detained not less than three Americans, together with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested earlier this month at a Moscow-area airport and accused of transporting medication.  

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