Biden believes Putin is a 'killer' and says he'll 'pay a price' for attacking dissidents and trying to meddle in the 2020 race
- Biden told ABC
Newsanchor George Stephanopoulos he believes Putin is a "killer."
- He added that Putin will "pay a price" for meddling in the
2020 electionand attacking opponents.
- Biden also recalled a previous conversation in which he told the Russian leader he doesn't have a soul.
The pre-taped interview aired on Wednesday and came after the release of a US intelligence report, which found that
"We had a long talk, he and I," he added, referring to his January 26 phone call with the Russian leader. "I know him relatively well. And our conversation started off, I said, 'I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.'""You said you know he doesn't have a soul," Stephanopoulos said, referring to a previous conversation Biden and Putin had.
"I did say that to him, yes," the president replied. "And his response was: 'We understand one another.'""I wasn't being a wise guy. I was alone with him in his office, that's how it came about," Biden continued, adding that the conversation took place after former President George Bush famously said in 2001 - in comments he later regretted - that he "was able to get a sense of [Putin's] soul." "I said, 'I looked in your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul,'" Biden recalled in his Wednesday interview. "He looked back and he said we understand each other."
Stephanopoulos also asked the US president if he believes Putin is a "killer."
"Mhm," Biden said. "I do."Asked what price Putin should pay for his brutal attacks on independent journalists, dissidents, and political opponents - most recently the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny - Biden said: "The price he's going to pay, you'll see shortly."
Earlier this month, the US announced sanctions in coordination with the European Union against senior Russian officials over Navalny's attempted poisoning.
He was treated in a German hospital after being poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok and returned to Russia in January despite repeatedly being threatened with arrest. Moments after he landed, Navalny was apprehended and is now being kept in a notoriously harsh Russian prison.Biden stressed during his ABC News interview that it's important to "be able to walk and chew gum at the same time."
"That's overwhelmingly in the interest of humanity, that we diminish the prospect of a nuclear exchange," Biden added.
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