Putin-Biden talks? Russia says absence of clear answer from US will be considered a ‘refusal’

Moscow appeared to be putting the ball in President Biden’s court Friday regarding potential talks between him and Vladimir Putin, days after he raised tensions between the two world superpowers by describing his Russian counterpart as a killer who would “pay a price” for trying to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. 

Putin challenged Biden on Thursday to chat with him in a “live,” on-air conversation — and now it’s the United States’ turn to make the next move, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested. 

“An inquiry has been made and there is either an answer or the absence of an answer to it,” Peskov told reporters Friday, according to the TASS Russian News Agency. “The absence of an answer is generally a refusal from such communication.” 

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. (AP/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. (AP/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo)

PUTIN CHALLENGES BIDEN TO CHAT WITH HIM IN A ‘LIVE’ CONVERSATION 

Peskov also mentioned that the first phone call between Russian and American leaders following Biden’s inauguration was initiated by the U.S.  

“And now, in light of President Putin’s initiative, the Russian side is showing initiative itself and sending it via diplomatic channels,” he added. “It will wait for a response.” 

Putin suggested holding the live conversation as soon as Friday or Monday, while noting that he wants to “relax a little” this weekend by heading to the forested region in northern Russia, known as the tiaga. 

“We are ready any time that is convenient for the American side,” he said Thursday. 

WHITE HOUSE SAYS BIDEN IS ‘QUITE BUSY’ AFTER PUTIN INVITES HIM FOR A CHAT 

During the White House press briefing Thursday, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Putin’s request. 

“I don’t have anything to report to you in terms of a future meeting,” Psaki said. “The president will, of course, be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy.” 

When asked by reporters if Biden regretted his remarks, Psaki also said, “Nope.” 

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“The president gave a direct answer to a direct question,” she added. 

Peskov, speaking about things Putin might say to Biden during any potential talks, said “there are issues that concern bilateral relations… There are issues related to ongoing allegations against Russia, aimed at putting all the blame on Russia,” according to TASS. 

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.