Kremlin lashes out after Joe Biden aims sweary barb at Vladimir Putin

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An image of Vladimir Putin is displayed as Joe Biden speaks about gas prices at the White House campus in June 2022Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Joe Biden has often been vocal in his criticism of Vladimir Putin (file photo)

The Kremlin has accused Joe Biden of attempting to appear like a "Hollywood cowboy" after the US president called Vladimir Putin "a crazy SOB".

Mr Biden made the comment at a public fundraising event on Wednesday in California, warning about the threat of nuclear conflict.

The Russian president responded by dismissing the remark as "rude".

He linked the attack to his earlier claim he would prefer Mr Biden in the White House to Donald Trump.

In a brief speech in San Francisco, Mr Biden said: "We have a crazy SOB like that guy Putin, and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict, but the existential threat to humanity is climate."

It is not the first time the US president has used the offensive term. In a hot-mic slip in 2022, Mr Biden called a Fox News journalist a "son of a bitch". He has also called Mr Putin a "butcher" and a "war criminal" in the past.

On Thursday, Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the comment "debases America" and described Mr Biden as a "Hollywood cowboy".

"Has Mr Putin ever used one crude word to address you?" he added.

Mr Putin raised eyebrows last week when he said he would prefer Mr Biden to defeat Mr Trump in the November presidential election, describing the incumbent as "more experienced, he's predictable, he's an old-style politician".

He has now suggested Mr Biden's "crazy SOB" comment was linked to that claim.

He told Russian TV: "I said that we would work with any president, but I think that for us, for Russia, Biden is more preferable.

"And judging by what he said, I am absolutely right. Because it is an appropriate reaction to what I said.

"Why? He cannot say 'Volodya, well done, thank you, you helped me a lot,' can he?"

Mr Biden also took aim at Donald Trump during his speech in California - who he is likely to face off in November's presidential election.

Mr Trump has appeared to compare himself to Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition activist who died in jail last week.

The Republican has not assigned blame to Mr Putin for Navalny's death, while Mr Biden said there can be "no doubt" the Russian president was responsible.

"If I stood here 10 to 15 years ago and said all this, you'd all think I should be committed," Mr Biden said.