Putin says he talks to Trump regularly

Friday, 08 Jun, 2018

Putin boasted that he warned of the growing risk of the USA imposing its rules on other countries in a 2007 speech in Munich, saying, "Nobody wanted to listen and nobody did anything to stop this from developing".

"Please make a distinction between the Russian Government, Russia as a state, Russian citizens and certain legal entities", Putin said, repeating a talking point he has used before.

Putin also addressed tariffs the USA imposed on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and other long-term allies in the European Union, likening them to unjustified economic sanctions.

"That is exactly what is happening now".

Both Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been released after spending weeks in hospital.

Moscow's ties with European Union countries remain strained after Russia's annexation of Crimea, its involvement in Syria and eastern Ukraine and the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain.

In December, Putin flew to Syria and declared Russia's mission accomplished, ordering a "significant part" of its contingent to start withdrawing.

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Putin will get to showcase Russian Federation beginning next week, as the country begins hosting the World Cup.

Putin has variously denied Russian meddling and said that "patriotically minded" hackers may have been involved separately from the Russian government.

"They are temporary but we will keep them there while it is necessary and is required by our economic interests", he said.

On Thursday, he promised Russian citizenship to a Ukrainian woman seriously injured by an explosive device in Syria and who lost an arm and leg. "We have started on the trajectory towards robust economic growth in Russian Federation". The country also continues to be a major hub for the import of Russian gas into Europe, and saw trade with Russia increase by 40% over the previous year, in spite of the sanction regime.

The Russian central bank forecasts economic growth at between 1.5 and 2 per cent this year. "But now let me ask you: do you really think that a person who is in the restaurant business, even if this person has some hacking opportunities and owns a private firm engaged in this activity - I do not even know what he does - could use it to sway elections in the United States or a European country?"

And what about plans to pull the Russian military out of Syria?

"As for personal meetings, I think that the possibility of these meetings depends to a large extent on the internal political situation in the United States", Putin continued. Putin asked sardonically of the affected Western allies, reminding them that he had warned them of American overreach as far back as his Munich speech in 2007. The nationwide broadcast on state TV channels showed frequent shots of communications workers at computers monitoring questions submitted by viewers. "It's in the Kremlin where everything is wonderful".