Joe Biden

Russia Warns of Diplomatic Rupture With US Over Biden's ‘War Criminal' Claim

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said President Biden’s decision to refer to President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” has put “Russian-American relations on the verge of rupture”

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Russia has warned that relations with the U.S. are “on the verge of a rupture” and summoned the U.S. ambassador for an official protest against President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement Monday referred to “recent unacceptable statements” by Biden about Putin. Biden referred to Putin last week as a “war criminal” in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The White House had been avoiding applying the designation to Putin, saying it requires investigation and an international determination. After Biden used the term, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president was “speaking from his heart" and renewed her statements that there is a process for making a formal determination.

The Foreign Ministry said that at the meeting with U.S. ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan "it was emphasized that remarks such as these by the American President, which are unworthy of a state figure of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of rupture."

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted that Sullivan demanded consular access to U.S. citizens detained in Russia, "including those in pre-trial detention." While the embassy didn't mention WNBA star Brittney Griner by name, the basketball player is in pre-trial detention outside Moscow on allegations of smuggling drugs.

"We have repeatedly asked for consular access to American citizen detainees and have consistently and improperly been denied access for months. This is completely unacceptable," the office said in another tweet.

This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.

The Associated Press/NBC
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