Russian President Vladimir Putin will face consequences for interfering in US elections, US President Joe Biden said in an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday. “He will pay a price,” Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “You’ll see shortly.” The comments came a day after a US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report concluded that Putin approved “influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,” in an effort to swing the 2020 US presidential election.
Biden told ABC that he knows Putin “relatively well” and that the two had a “long talk” in January. When asked if he thinks Putin, who has been accused of poisoning political opponents, is a “killer,” Biden replied, “I do.” Biden’s response was markedly different from that of his predecessor Donald Trump, who famously demurred when asked the same question in 2017, choosing instead to shift blame to America’s own history of ill-deeds: “There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied during a Fox News interview, “You think our country’s so innocent?”
Tensions have soared between the US and Russia in recent years over hacking and election interference allegations and Washington’s demands that Russia free jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. In early March, Washington announced fresh sanctions over Navalny, who was immediately imprisoned upon returning to Moscow from Germany, where he had been treated for nerve agent poisoning in what many say was a clear assassination attempt by the Kremlin. The sanctions were added on top of those already imposed on Moscow after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
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