- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a solution to the current U.S.-Russia friction — a public debate with President Biden.

Mr. Putin made the proposal as part of the Kremlin’s response to Mr. Biden’s denunciations of him — a reaction that also included Moscow pulling its ambassador.

The longtime Russian strongman told a state TV reporter Thursday, in reaction to Mr. Biden’s having called him a “killer,” that he “just thought [now]” of a response.

“I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called, without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion,” Mr. Putin said.

The Kremlin chief said “it seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”

Not a few conservatives on Twitter cringed at the prospect, as Mr. Biden has yet to hold a live press conference with a far-friendlier U.S. press corps and even in scripted appearances often loses his train of thought or refers to Vice President Kamala D. Harris as the president.

That was something Mr. Putin himself seemed to acknowledge without his tongue in his cheek.

“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,” Mr. Putin head, going on to add that “I am saying this without irony or tongue in cheek.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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