Last week, Russia recalled its U.S. ambassador. Why? The Biden administration had just put up sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the poisoning of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny. But the larger context is the Democrats’ use of Russia as its poster boy for Evil throughout the Trump period, with Biden carrying on the carping, saying that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” for interfering in American elections.

But there was insult as well as threatened injury. Egged on by ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Biden also called Putin “a killer.”

Putin’s response? “‘I would say to him: “Be well,” I wish him good health. I say that without any irony, without jokes.”

However darkly you want to interpret that, Putin also challenged Biden to a live, public debate — and that is darkly hilarious.

Unheard of in diplomacy — but apt for the current age?

It won’t happen, of course, for Putin is in command of his faculties, while Biden is not. Besides, Putin might speak some unpleasant truths that we try not to think about.

Like: killers abound.

“You know, I remember, in childhood, when we were arguing with each other in the courtyard, we would say, ‘I know you are, but what am I,’” ABC News quotes Putin, who insisted that this taunt is “not just a childish saying. There is a very deep meaning in that.”

Was Trump’s habit of saying nice things about dictators really so bad?