The Kremlin says it would like an apology from Fox News after an interview between President Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly, in which the Fox host described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "killer."
"We consider such words by the Fox News company correspondent to be unacceptable and insulting," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call, excerpts of which were published by Russian media. "And honestly, we would prefer to receive an apology addressed to the Russian president from such a respected television station."
The interview between O'Reilly and Trump aired Sunday.
"Do you respect Putin?" O'Reilly asked.
"I do respect him," Trump responded.
"Do you?" O'Reilly said, cutting Trump off. "Why?"
"Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him," Trump responded.
"He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world, major fight - that's a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea."
"He's a killer though," O'Reilly said. "Putin's a killer."
"There are a lot of killers," Trump said in response. "We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent?"
O'Reilly planned to address the matter on his show Monday night, Fox News confirmed in an email to The Washington Post.
"Apparently the Putin administration in Moscow demanding that I, your humble correspondent, apologise for saying old Vlad is a killer," he said. "So I'm working on that apology but it may take a little time. Might want to check in with me around 2023."
As Reuters noted in its report:
"Asked in an interview on Sunday to clarify those comments, Trump told Westwood One Sports Radio: 'Well, I don't have to clarify it. The question was do you respect him - he's a head of a major country'.
"Putin, in his 17th year of dominating the Russian political landscape, is accused by some Kremlin critics of ordering the killing of opponents. Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly rejected those allegations as politically motivated and false."
O'Reilly on Monday (US time) said he thought Trump was "straightforward and honest" in the interview, "whether you liked his answers or not".
The Kremlin's request for an apology comes about a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office wrote to Fox News, asking that it either take down or update a tweet that contained "false and misleading" information about the suspect in the Quebec City mosque attack.
The tweet stated that the suspect in the fatal shooting was "of Moroccan origin."
A man who was born in Morocco was initially detained in the aftermath of the attack, but he was quickly released and cleared.
The tweet stayed up for some time before Trudeau's office got involved. Fox, which said that it had sent a new tweet and corrected its story, deleted the erroneous tweet.