US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “butcher” after visiting Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday.
Asked by reporters traveling with the president what seeing the refugees made him think as he deals with Putin every day, Biden replied, “He’s a butcher.”
During the brief Q&A at Stadion Narodowy, Biden recounted how he’d been to places like this in his life, but said he was still amazed by “the depth and strength of the ‘human spirit’.
“It’s amazing, it’s amazing. Seeing all these little kids. I just want to give a hug, I just want to say thank you. I mean, it makes you so proud,” he said.
He added: “Each of those kids said something to the effect, ‘Say a prayer for my dad or my grandfather or my brother who’s fighting over there. And I remember what it’s like when you have someone in a war zone. Every morning you get up and ask yourself questions. You just wonder. And you’re praying that you don’t get that phone call.
The Kremlin’s reaction: The Kremlin responded to Biden’s comments in Warsaw, saying his remarks “reduced the window of opportunity” to mend US-Russian relations, according to Russian news agency TASS.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS that “the leader of a nation must keep a cool head”.
“Of course, whenever these personal insults reduce the window of opportunity for our bilateral relations under the current regime [US] administration. You have to be aware of that,” Peskov said, according to TASS.
– CNN’s Chandler Thornton contributed reporting for this post.