Russia on Wednesday called its ambassador to the United States back to Moscow for consultations on the future of U.S.-Russia ties after U.S. President Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would "pay a price" for alleged election meddling.
In an ABC News interview that aired on Wednesday, Biden called Russian President Putin a killer and said he will face consequences for directing efforts to swing the 2020 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump.
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"He will pay a price," Biden said. Asked what the consequences would be, he said, "You'll see shortly."
Biden made his comments after a U.S. intelligence report supported longstanding allegations that Putin was behind Moscow's election interference in the United States, an accusation Russia called baseless.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had called its ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, back to Moscow to discuss the future of Russia's relationship with the United States.
The move was designed to ensure bilateral ties did not degrade irreparably, it said.
"The main thing for us is to determine the ways in which the difficult Russian-American relations that Washington has led into a dead end in recent years could be rectified," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on its website.
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"We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation if the Americans recognize the risks involved."
Sources said the intelligence reoprt's publication would likely trigger U.S. sanctions on Moscow.
Later on Wednesday, the White House reiterated that Russia will be held accountable after a U.S. intelligence report. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden is taking a different approach to relations with Russia than former Republican President Donald Trump.
"Certainly the Russians will be held accountable for the action they've taken," she told reporters.
The 15-page report, released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, added heft to longstanding allegations that some of Trump's top lieutenants were playing into Moscow's hands by amplifying claims made against then-candidate Biden by Russian-linked Ukrainian figures in the run-up to the November 3 election. It also added new findings that Putin either oversaw or at least approved of the election meddling to benefit Trump.
The findings about Putin's role are likely to receive particular attention given the report's conclusions that Russia-backed figures such as Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach enlisted unnamed U.S. political figures in their campaign to smear Biden and his son Hunter.
The report named Derkach, who met Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani in 2019, as someone whose movements were tracked, if not directed, by Putin.