News

Biden says Putin has ‘no soul’

Biden says Putin has ‘no soul’

'NO SOUL:'Biden, seen here earlier this month, told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin has no soul, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded after meeting with the Russian leader at the Kremlin in 2011, according to an article in the New Yorker published online on Monday.

Biden told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader.

“I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,'” Biden told the magazine. “He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.'”

Biden’s assessment is in stark contrast to that of former U.S. President George W. Bush, who famously said after his first meeting with Putin in 2001: “I looked the man in the eye … I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Biden’s comments were published as the United States and other Western powers expressed outrage with Russia over the downing last week of a Malaysian airliner over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. All 298 people aboard died.

The United States and other nations blame the rebels for shooting down the plane and they have demanded that Russia and its president, Putin, take responsibility. They also have expressed disgust over the rebels’ mishandling of victims’ bodies at the crash site.

Biden, who has played a large role in the Obama administration’s foreign policy, also discussed his meeting with Ukrainian officials earlier this year, according to the article in the New Yorker’s July 28 issue.

The officials had been seeking U.S. military aid, according to the report, but Biden said the United States could only provide minimal support.

“We no longer think in Cold War terms, for several reasons,” the vice president told the magazine. “One, no one is our equal. No one is close. Other than being crazy enough to press a button, there is nothing that Putin can do militarily to fundamentally alter American interests.”

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jim Loney and Paul Simao)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Bat boy, 9, dies after hit in head by swing at baseball game

17-overlay2

The boy was struck by a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle.

in Sports

SEC spares no expense in hiring 14 new coordinators

muschamp

Coaches around the Southeastern Conference have had to do a little extra homework on opposing coordinators during the offseason.

in National

Obama to unveil tougher climate change plan

globalwarming

President Barack Obama will unveil the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases, kicking off what is expected to be a tumultuous legal battle between federal environmental regulators and coal industry supporters.

in Sports

Blatter gives up IOC membership as FIFA exit nears

fifa

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was relieved of his International Olympic Committee ex officio membership on Monday, seven months before he will be replaced as the head of soccer's governing body.

in National, Sports

Key Olympic powerbroker urges U.S. bid for 2024

olympics

The most powerful people in the Olympic movement have urged the U.S. to quickly find a replacement for Boston and push ahead with plans to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.