Russia Recalled Ambassador After Biden Calls Putin a “Killer”

Whether it’s true or not, when Biden referred to Vladimir Putin as a “killer,” there was a reaction. Russia recalled Ambassador Anatoly Antonov “for consultations”, and stated that the relationship with the United States is in a “crisis.” That’s not all that caused this, but it certainly didn’t help.

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Russia Recalled Ambassador Antonov

“On March 20, Ambassador of Russia to the United States Anatoly Antonov is leaving for Moscow for consultations. During his meetings in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other agencies, it is planned to discuss ways to rectify Russia-U.S. ties that are in crisis. The current situation is a result of the deliberate policy of Washington that during the past years was making steps to bring — in essence, intentionally — our bilateral interaction into a deadlock.

The unconstructive course of the Administration towards our country does not meet the interests of Russia and the United States, while certain ill-considered statements of high-ranking U.S. officials have put the already excessively confrontational relations under the threat of collapse at all.

We stand for dialogue between the two UN Security Council permanent members bearing particular responsibility for international peace and security. We assume that good and pragmatic ties between Russia and the United States meet the aspirations of our countries and the entire international community.”

Statement of Russian embassy

Some news outlets are reporting that the FBI and DOJ found evidence that Russia attempted to alter the 2020 election. Except that is not exactly what the official report stated. They did find some smaller incursions, but the Biden admnistration claimed that Russia “interfered” with the election. Did they or didn’t they? The official report reads in part:

We—the Department of Justice, including the FBI, and Department of Homeland Security, including CISA—have no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information of any ballots cast during 2020 federal elections.

Broad Russian and Iranian campaigns targeting multiple critical infrastructure sectors did compromise the security of several networks that managed some election functions, but they did not materially affect the integrity of voter data, the ability to vote, the tabulation of votes, or the timely transmission of election results.

Iranian claims that sought to undermine the public’s confidence in US election infrastructure were false or inflated. We identified several incidents when Russian, Chinese, and Iranian government-affiliated actors materially impacted the security of networks associated with or pertaining to US political organizations, candidates, and campaigns during 2020 federal elections.

In most cases, the IC has assessed that it is unclear if those actors sought these accesses to inform broader foreign policy interests or election-specific operations.

Several such actors gathered at least some information they could have released in influence operations, but ultimately we did not see any such materials deployed, modified, or destroyed. The IC—including the FBI and the IC elements of DHS—has previously assessed that it would be difficult for a foreign actor to manipulate election processes at scale without detection by intelligence collection, post-election audits, or physical and cyber security monitoring of voting systems across the country...

We have no evidence—not through intelligence collection on the foreign actors themselves, not through physical security and cybersecurity monitoring of voting systems across the country, not through post-election audits, and not through any other means—that a foreign government or other actors compromised election infrastructure to manipulate election results.

Intelligence report on 2020 elections (Excerpt)

Biden stated in an interview with ABC news on Wednesday that Russia “will pay a price” for those operations. He also mentioned the recent Solar Winds hack being attributed to Russia. To which, Russia recalled Ambassador Antonov home for “consultations.” The spokeman for Russia Dimitry Peskov “dismissed” Biden’s comments, saying that he obviously didn’t want to normalize relations with Russia (Washington Times).

Did Biden bungle foreign policy? Or is Russia once again saber rattling? It’s likely a bit of both. Working with Russia is always a crap shoot. The recent nuclear treaty that expired was extended by both countries – never mind that Russia was accused of violating it numerous times. It’s just the joys of diplomacy.


Featured photo: screenshot file of Vladimir Putin

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