US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "pure thug" while speaking at a St. Patrick's Day event Thursday.
At the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Capitol Hill, Biden said Putin is a “murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.”
Biden also said Ireland has “stepped up” in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine. He said the relationship between Ireland and the United States was “taking on an even more intense and cooperative forum than it ever has because of Ireland's neutrality.”
“Putin is paying a big price for his aggression, and they are part of the reason the cost is going so high,” Biden said.
In their support for sanctions against Russia and for Ukraine, Biden said Ireland was also “paying a big price” for a contribution he called “not minor.”
“Everybody talks about how Germany have stepped up and changed their notions about being more leaning forward, and they have,” Biden said, “and so has Ireland. A neutral country, Ireland has stepped up, and they’re taking the hit for what they're doing.”
The President also referenced his upcoming call with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday, joking that Xi “remembers everything I’ve said.”
“All kidding aside,” Biden continued, “he does not believe in democracy can be sustained in the 21st century.”
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin was scheduled to attend the event, but was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Wednesday. Biden, who had just attended a virtual meeting with Martin before heading to Capitol Hill, said the Taoiseach was “really sorry he can’t be here” and that he “feels well” despite the diagnosis.