President Biden's comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer has "sparked the biggest crisis in bilateral relations in years," per AFP, as apparently showcased by Putin's response. "It takes one to know one," Putin said Thursday in remarks aired on Russian state TV, per the outlet. "That's not just a children's saying and a joke. There's a deep psychological meaning in this," Putin added, noting "we always see in another person our own qualities and think that he is the same as us." He referred to the legacy of slavery in the US and its treatment of Native Americans. "In the history of every people, every state, there are a lot of hard, dramatic and bloody events. But when we evaluate other people or even other governments, we always look as if into the mirror. We always see ourselves in it," he said, per NBC News.
Referring to Biden's comment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "there hasn't been anything like this in history," per CNN. "These are very bad statements by the President of the United States. He definitely does not want to improve relations with us." Russia's embassy in the US similarly blamed "certain ill-considered statements of high-ranking US officials" for putting the "already excessively confrontational relations under the threat of collapse," per NBC. Russia pulled its US ambassador on Wednesday following Biden's comment to ABC News. In addition to calling Putin a killer, Biden said he'd told Putin in 2011 that he didn't think the Russian leader had a soul. Biden said Putin responded, "We understand one another." In dealing with foreign leaders, it's key to "know the other guy," Biden said. (US sanctions are expected.)