The Kremlin demanded an apology on Monday from Fox News over what it said were "unacceptable" comments by Bill O'Reilly about Russian President Vladimir Putin in last Friday's interview with Donald Trump.
In that televised "pre-SuperBowl" Trump interview, the longtime Fox News presenter described Putin as "a killer" and pressed Trump on his oddly constant praise for Putin.
O'Reilly did not say who he thought Putin had killed.
"We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
O'Reilly dismissed the Kremlin's call for an apology.
"I'm working on that apology but it may take a little time," he said on Fox News late on Monday. "You might want to check in with me around … 2023."
In related news today, the New York Times observes that Trump's comments on Russian military action in Ukraine sound identical to the Kremlin's talking points.
President Trump cast doubt on whether Moscow is backing separatists engaged in the recent escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine, appearing to side with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has long denied involvement in the conflict despite evidence to the contrary.
Mr. Trump said he did not take offense at the outbreak of a lethal bout of fighting in Ukraine that came within a day of a phone conversation he had with Mr. Putin, saying of the recent clashes, "we don't really know exactly what that is."
"They're pro-forces," Mr. Trump said of the Ukrainian separatists in an interview that aired on Monday on "The O'Reilly Factor," on Fox News. "We don't know, are they uncontrollable? Are they uncontrolled? That happens also. We're going to find out; I would be surprised, but we'll see."