During a March 18, 2021 meeting with public representatives of Crimea and Sevastopol, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on President Joe Biden's statements in an interview the previous day. In the interview, President Biden said that Putin "will pay a price" for the alleged Russian attempts to undermine the 2020 U.S. election, and assented when asked whether he thought Putin was "a killer."
In response to Biden's allegation that he is "a killer," Putin said that when people evaluate others, or even other states and nations, they are always looking into a mirror: "We always see ourselves in the reflection, because we project our inner selves onto the other person."
The same day, Putin told TV channel Rossiya 24: "I want to invite President Biden to continue our discussions, but on the condition that we actually do it live, as they say, online. But without any delay, and directly in an open, direct discussion." He added: "I wouldn't put it to the back of the drawer, I want to go to the taiga forest over the weekend, take a little break there, and so it would be possible either tomorrow [March 19, 2021]or, say, on Monday [March 22, 2021]." Putin also stressed that a live discussion would be interesting for both the Russian and American peoples: "It would be interesting to the people of Russia and the U.S. And for many other countries, bearing in mind that we, as the largest nuclear powers, have a special responsibility for strategic security on the planet."
However, on March 18, the Russian news agency Tass.com noted that Biden had "ducked" a question on whether he would agree to talk with Putin live, stating: "After ending the speech, Biden ignored journalists' questions. The first of this question was whether he would accept the extended invitation to a live conversation. The president did not answer any of the questions and left the hall."
Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the U.S. reported that on March 20, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov was leaving for Moscow for consultations. The communiqué, published on the embassy website, stated: "During [Antonov's] 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."
Below are Putin's comments on Biden's remarks:
'Whatever You Call Me Is What You Are Called Yourself'
International Music Festival volunteer coordinator and representative of Crimea Federal University Polina Bolbochan: "Mr. President, I have a somewhat personal question for you. Yesterday, President Biden got quite tough in his interview, including with regard to you. What would you say to him?"
Vladimir Putin: "With regard to my U.S. colleague's remark, we have, indeed, as he said, met in person. What would I tell him? I would say 'stay healthy.' I wish him good health. I am saying this without irony or tongue in cheek. This is my first point.
"Secondly, taking a broader approach to this matter, I would like to say that difficult, dramatic, and bloody events abound in the history of every nation and every state. But when we evaluate other people, or even other states and nations, we are always facing a mirror, we always see ourselves in the reflection, because we project our inner selves onto the other person.
"You know, I remember when we were children and played in the yard, we had arguments occasionally and we used to say: whatever you call me is what you are called yourself. This is no coincidence or just a kids' saying or joke. It has a very deep psychological undercurrent. We always see ourselves in another person and think that he or she is just like us, and evaluate the other person's actions based on our own outlook on life.
"With regard to the U.S. establishment, the ruling class – not the American people who are mostly honest, decent and sincere people who want to live in peace and friendship with us, something we are aware of and appreciate, and we will rely on them in the future – their mindset was formed in rather challenging circumstances which we are all aware of. After all, the colonization of the American continent by the Europeans went hand-in-hand with the extermination of the local people, the genocide, as they say today, outright genocide of the Indian tribes followed by a very tough, long and difficult period of slavery, a very cruel period. All of that has been part of life in America throughout the history of the United States to this day. Otherwise, where would the Black Lives Matter movement come from? To this day, African Americans face injustice and even extermination.
"The ruling class of the United States tends to address domestic and foreign policy issues based on these assumptions. After all, the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, mind you, against a non-nuclear state – Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW II. There was absolutely no military need for the bombing. It was nothing but the extermination of civilians. I am bringing this up, because I know that the United States and its leaders are determined to maintain certain relations with us, but on matters that are of interest to the United States and on its terms. Even though they believe we are just like them, we are different. We have a different genetic, cultural and moral code. But we know how to uphold our interests. We will work with the United States, but in the areas that we are interested in and on terms that we believe are beneficial to us. They will have to reckon with it despite their attempts to stop our development, despite the sanctions and insults. They will have to reckon with this.
"We, with our national interests in mind, will promote our relations with all countries, including the United States. This is generally all I want to say about this."
 Biden's comments came after the release of a U.S. intelligence report stating that the Russian government had interfered in the 2020 elections. Dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/ICA-declass-16MAR21.pdf, March 15, 2021. Commenting on the report, the Russian Embassy in the U.S. called the report another set of "groundless accusations against our country of interfering in American internal political processes." Washington.mid.ru/en/press-centre/news/embassy_comment_on_the_report_of_the_american_national_intelligence_council_on_foreign_threats_to_th/ March 16, 2021. For interview see: Abcnews.go.com/Politics/transcript-abc-news-george-stephanopoulos-interviews-president-joe/story?id=76509669, March 17, 2021.
 Rbc.ru, March 18, 2021.
 Tass.com, March 19, 2021.
 Washington.mid.ru, March 17, 2021.
 Kremlin.ru, March 18, 2021.