Putin: Trump and I 'regularly talk over the phone'

Building bridges Putin to visit Austria in first foreign trip after re-election

Building bridges Putin to visit Austria in first foreign trip after re-election

Putin also pushed back on the idea that Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller and bankrolled a Russian troll farm, could somehow have swayed us elections.

In an interview with Austrian public broadcaster ORF on June 4, Putin dismissed as "ridiculous" charges by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy restauranteur dubbed "Putin's chef" who owns the Internet Research Agency, often described as a troll factory, which allegedly ran a U.S. social-media campaign during the 2016 election.

"How low the Western information and political environment has fallen if a restaurateur from Russian Federation could influence elections in the United States or a European country", the Russian Federation leader said.

'So what? I know many people in St Petersburg and Moscow. "Ask Mr Prigozhin personally and he will tell you the Russian state didn't have anything to do with it".

"There's Mr Soros in the US and he meddles in all sorts of situations around the world, and our American friends often say the U.S.as a country doesn't have anything to do with Soros's private endeavors", Putin said.

However, Russian President also expressed hope for positive relations with western countries and the United States despite the existing sanctions. "The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them - rather it is Mr Soros" private affair.

'You have just said that Mr Prigozhin is referred to as 'Putin's chef, ' Putin said.

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He welcomed the EU's decision to take the matter to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but said it could be hard for it to act. The same was true of Mexico and Canada, with the latter's leader lashing out at Trump in recent days over the matter.

Putin said that in a recent phone call, "Donald said he was anxious about the possibility of a new arms race".

According to official White House statements, the two presidents have spoken on the phone eight times since Trump took office in January 2017.

"Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the USA political system, including the 2016 US presidential election". In my opinion, this is the result of the ongoing acute political struggle in the United States.

"I still hope that this meeting - a very fearless and mature decision U.S. President Donald Trump has made, to have direct contacts with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - will take place, and we all expect a positive outcome", Putin said in an interview with China Media Group.

They have met in person twice - once at a bilateral meeting in Germany and once on the sidelines of a leaders' summit in Vietnam.

Putin took the opportunity to call for European Union sanctions on Russian Federation to be lifted.

"Therefore, we will do all we can to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula", he added. "Incidentally, one of the nuclear test sites, the one that I think North Korea is shutting down, is located, if my memory does not fail me, within 190 kilometers of the Russian border".

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