Russian President Vladimir Putin is speaking out about Donald Trump, hacking accusations, U.S. sanctions and what he calls Russo-phobic hysteria. On Thursday at a meeting with senior editors of leading international news agencies, Putin said emphatically that his government has never been involved in hacking and that “no hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.” This seems to coincide with evidence from a French investigation that said there was no evidence of Russian interference in their recent election.
Putin had this to say about trying to contain Russia through sanctions: Economic restrictions against Russia have had “zero effect.” He predicted that the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU over their annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula would eventually ease, because “it’s counterproductive and harmful.”
Maybe the most interesting thing that Putin shared with the news agency leaders was concerning his willingness to wait in forging better relations with the U.S. and President Donald Trump. Putin said that the present political atmosphere in America “makes it somewhat inconvenient to work with one another or even to talk, but some day this will have to stop.” He said the “Russo-phobic hysteria” in the U.S. is aimed “against the current president of the U.S. to prevent him from working normally,” but he predicted “this will end, sooner or later.” He continued, “we are patient, we know how to wait, and we will wait.”
The Russian president praised Donald Trump as “a straightforward person, a frank person.” Putin noted, that while some see Trump’s lack of political experience as a disadvantage, he sees it as beneficial because “he has a fresh set of eyes.” He expressed this hope for the future, “my wish is to forge a constructive dialogue underpinned by national interests,” and “I believe it’s possible with the current U.S. president.”
Putin was asked if he had any advice for President Trump, he replied that it would be “counterproductive” to give advice to a political counterpart; then he noted, “a person like President Trump doesn’t need any advice, especially if it comes to political issues.”
Credit: AP News