US political groups urge Biden to put an end to ‘reckless’ rhetoric with Putin, after ‘killer’ comments sparked diplomatic storm

More than two dozen American organizations have called on US President Joe Biden to put an end to a series of public spats with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and instead take a more “constructive” approach with Moscow.

In a statement seen by Washington newspaper The Hill on Tuesday, twenty-seven political groups, including a number of left-wing Democratic grassroots movements, said that Biden needed to change tack.

“As national organizations that advocate for diplomacy, arms control, disarmament and peace, we are deeply alarmed by the recent negative exchanges between leaders of the two countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads in their arsenals,” the shared declaration read.

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“As Americans, we urge the Biden administration to stop participating in such reckless rhetorical exchanges and to instead vigorously pursue nuclear-arms negotiations with the Russian government,” it added.

Part of that, the statement said, would require Biden to make good his promise that “diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy,” and ensure that “constructive bilateral talks” on arms control is on the agenda.

The organizations listed by The Hill were said to include Justice Democrats, Blue America, Demand Progress, Our Revolution and Progressive Democrats of America – many of which are socialist or social-democratic factions within Biden’s own party.

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Earlier this month, Biden sparked a war of words when he was asked in an interview whether he thought his Russian counterpart was “a killer.” “Mmm-hmm, I do,” Biden replied.

Biden’s comments were widely panned by Russian officials. The speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, added his voice to those claiming they were indicative of a diplomatic rift. The politician argued that “this is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country.”

The Russian president was more muted in his own reply to the White House, however, saying that judging other countries “is like looking in a mirror.”

“When I was a kid, when we were arguing with each other in the playground, we used to say, ‘whatever you say [about others] is what you are yourself,’” Putin added. Moscow would stand up for its own interests on the international stage, he argued, and “the US will have to reckon with this, despite their attempts to stop our development via sanctions and insults.”

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