Russia recalls ambassador after Biden says Putin will ‘pay a price’ for interference

Russia’s foreign ministry withdrew its ambassador to the U.S. on Wednesday after President Biden vowed that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” for his country’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election.

A statement on the foreign ministry’s website confirmed that Ambassador Anatoly Antonov had been summoned to Moscow and warned against an “irreversible deterioration in relations” between the U.S. and Russia, warning such a move would have consequences.

“Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has been summoned to Moscow for consultations in order to analyse what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States,” read the foreign ministry’s statement.

“The most important thing for us is to identify ways of rectifying Russia-US relations, which have been going through hard times as Washington has, as a matter of fact, brought them to a blind alley. We are interested in preventing an irreversible deterioration in relations, if the Americans become aware of the risks associated with this,” the statement continued.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the news at Wednesday’s press briefing, and reiterated that Russia would face consequences over the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia continued its political interference efforts throughout 2020.

“Our administration is going to take a different approach in our relationship to Russia than the prior administration,” Psaki said.

The back-and-forth came just hours after Biden threatened that Putin would “pay a price” during an interview with ABC News.

“He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I. I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off and I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’ ”

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report Wednesday contending that Putin “authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.”

Unlike similar efforts that took place during the 2016 election, officials said there were no “persistent” efforts by Russians last year to access critical election infrastructure, including voting machines.

The Biden administration on Wednesday also announced sanctions aimed at Russia in response to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian dissident.

Tags 2020 Russian election interference Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden US-Russia relations Vladimir Putin

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