Moscow [Russia], February 23: Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Joe Biden on Thursday for calling him a "crazy SOB", saying with an ironic smile that the remark showed why the Kremlin felt Biden was a preferable future U.S. president to Donald Trump.
The U.S. president made the "crazy SOB" remark as part of a sentence about threats to the world - including "that guy Putin and others," the risk of nuclear conflict and the existential threat to humanity from climate change.
Asked by Russian state television about Biden's "crude" remark, Putin smiled sarcastically and bit his lip before looking at the ground.
Putin, 71, said that his previous comments saying that Biden, 81, was Russia's preferred candidate had triggered Biden's "adequate reaction".
Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said his embassy had sent the U.S. State Department "a strong note of protest about the outrageous nature and unacceptability" of Biden's comments.
Antonov, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said Moscow was not anticipating an "appropriate reaction. As the November U.S. election approaches such escapades will become routine."
For Putin, the remarks show the difficulty of navigating the upcoming U.S. presidential election which is likely to bring to power either Biden, who has publicly insulted Putin, or Trump, 77, who has promised to end the war in Ukraine swiftly.
The war in Ukraine, the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and U.S. assertions that Russia plans to put a nuclear weapon in space have led to the biggest crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
Top Russian and U.S. diplomats say they do not remember a time when relations between the world's two biggest nuclear powers were worse, including during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Putin casts the United States and its allies as a crumbling empire that wants to destroy Russia and steal its natural resources. The West casts Putin as a dictator and a killer, and Putin's Russia as an enemy.
But never has a serving U.S. president previously used such insulting words in public to describe a serving Kremlin chief. U.S. President Ronald Reagan offended the Kremlin in 1983 by calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire", though personal insults against leaders were rare in the Cold War.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation