Russia has recalled its Washington ambassador for talks to prevent the “irreversible deterioration” of relations with the United States.
The Russian government said Anatoly Antonov had been called back to Moscow as US ties had reached a “blind alley”.
The move came after President Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would “pay the price” for alleged election meddling.
After Biden accused Putin of being “a killer” in an interview broadcast on Wednesday, the Russian leader responded on Thursday by saying “it takes one to know one”, an exchange that reflected the impact of the new US president’s more confrontational approach to the Kremlin than his predecessor Donald Trump.
Mr Biden had been commenting on an American intelligence report that suggested Mr Putin had authorized an interference campaign in last November’s presidential election.
EDITOR: ABIOLA ABERUAGBA