Putin visits his best buddy in the EU: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

Putin visits his best buddy in the EU: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

Putin visits his best buddy in the EU: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

"I am convinced that Vladimir Putin has a grip on President Trump", Peters said on CNN Wednesday night, adding that the Steele dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians "rang true to me, because that's how the Russians do things".

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday lashed out at United States trade tariffs and Western sanctions against oligarchs during an annual televised phone-in that also saw him address the concerns of ordinary Russians.

Commenting on a question on the aluminum and steel tariffs recently imposed by the United States against Europe, Canada and Mexico, President Putin remarked that these restrictive measures are essentially sanctions. Putin, 65, and his aides say it is an indispensable tool to gauge public sentiment and learn about people's real problems.

The Russian economy has rebounded, however, and Putin emphasized that lifting the sanctions would answer common interests.

"I warned them that this situation, which we see today, could develop".

He also noted that the need to get rid of the anti-Russian sanctions is already being publicly discussed in Europe.

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Putin did not have much to say on the specific allegations that a Russian missile was responsible for the downing of the plane, except to cast doubt on the global investigation and say that Ukraine shot down a passenger plane by mistake in 2001. "We are not planning to withdraw yet", he said.

"If, as Britain claims, a military-grade agent was used against these people, they would've died in a matter of minutes or seconds". Putin said the world needed a new global security framework.

"The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the global arena that are highly risky for modern civilization", Putin said when asked to comment about recent worldwide volatility.

However "the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was an attempt to break that strategic parity", he added.

The biggest topic of discussion to that end dealt with cooperation between the countries on the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. Putin mentioned seeing a German news headline declaring, "Donald Trump pushes Europe into Putin's arms". "We apparently influenced the election of the USA president, and then he gifted us Europe".

Asked about his interactions with U.S. President Donald Trump, Putin said political infighting in Washington was hampering their contacts. "Utter idiocy. You can't describe this as anything other than a joke". 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.

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