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Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Russia's ambassador to Washington has been recalled to Moscow for "consultations" to determine how to move forward with relations with the U.S., the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: The news came hours after an interview aired in which President Biden agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "killer" and pledged to hold the Kremlin accountable for interfering in the 2020 election.

  • Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova did not provide specific reasons for the recall of Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, but she said relations with the U.S. "are in a difficult state, which Washington has brought to a dead end in recent years."
  • “We are interested in preventing their irreversible degradation, if the Americans are aware of the associated risks,” Zakharova added.

Driving the news: The U.S. intelligence community released a report on Tuesday assessing that Putin authorized influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden and supporting former President Trump in the 2020 election. The Kremlin has denied the allegations.

  • The U.S. also recently sanctioned seven senior Russian officials for the attempted poisoning and imprisonment of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who has been transferred to a penal colony. Western leaders and human rights organizations have called for Navalny's immediate release.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced it would expand export restrictions on Russia for violating international bans against chemical and biological weapons with the use of the nerve agent Novichok.

The big picture: Biden has insisted that it's possible to "walk and chew gum at the same time" when it comes to working with Russia on issues of mutual interest — such as the extension of the New START nuclear arms pact — while holding Putin accountable for his domestic abuses and foreign aggression.

Go deeper

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

32 mins ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.

Parents in Michigan, Virginia sue AG over action on school board threats

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during an October news conference in Mexico City. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A group of parents in Michigan and Virginia accused Attorney General Merrick Garland in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of trying to "criminalize" free speech by directing law enforcement to review threats against school staff.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, filed by the conservative American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the parents in two school districts, accuses Garland of seeking to suppress free speech in his memorandum directing federal authorities to counter the threats spike.