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

13 hours ago in National

‘Flags in’ for Memorial Day weekend

flags16146721748085

The tradition marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend activities around the nation.

16 hours ago in National

Trump wins the Republican nomination for president

trumpAP

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president.

18 hours ago in National

TSA chief: Help is on the way to address long airport lines

15-overlay-14

The head of the Transportation Security Administration said the beleaguered agency will add 768 new screeners by mid-June to deal with increasingly long airport security lines that have caused passengers to miss flights even before the busy summer travel season.

19 hours ago in National

Hundreds protest for $15 minimum wage at McDonald’s headquarters

19-overlay-8

Hundreds of protesters marched through pouring rain to call for higher wages and union rights at McDonald's Corp on Wednesday, leading the hamburger chain to shut down its headquarters a day before its annual meeting.

19 hours ago in National

Funding battle begins with House bill on regulators, agencies

congressREUTERS

The first shots in a political battle over funding for a range of federal activities rang out during a congressional subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, as Republicans and Democrats took opposing stances on a budget bill for financial regulators and other agencies.