The issue of European Union sanctions, imposed on Russia because of its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, will weigh on any talks he has.
Mueller’s indictment accuses Prigozhin and 12 other Russians of engaging in an alleged election-meddling conspiracy by placing politically divisive posts and ads that reached millions of us voters on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. In the second, lawmakers debated making it a crime punishable by jail for a Russian citizen to comply with the US sanctions.
Speaking during a live television phone-in with the Russian people that lasted over four hours, Putin likened the tariffs that Washington imposed last week on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union to economic sanctions.
Russian efforts to disrupt the American presidential election in 2016 remain a source of tension between the two nations and has led to United States sanctions of several Russians close to Putin and his circle. In December, Mr. Putin announced that Russian Federation would scale down its military presence in the war-torn country, now in its eighth year.
Putin admitted that the intelligence community always leans toward banning or blocking things but added that he will encourage them to find “a civilized solution” without “restricting freedoms”.
Russia’s state-owned news outlet RT seized on the interview, saying Putin “deflected lunges” from the interviewer who asked about Russian election meddling.
Putin denied Russia’s involvement.
He compared the tariffs to the Western sanctions imposed on Russian Federation, claiming European countries had now fallen foul of the United States in the same way.
“Life is getting worse and worse”, read another.
President Donald Trump, right, and Russia President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam in 2017.
“We have allegedly meddled with the presidential election in the USA and [President Donald] Trump as a thank you has presented us with Europe”, Putin said. “It’s only in the Kremlin that everything is wonderful”.
“Indeed, he runs a restaurant business, it is his job; he is a restaurant keeper in St Petersburg”, Putin said.
Responding to a anxious viewer during a televised phone-in, Putin called for new arms control negotiations and quoted Albert Einstein’s aphorism that “World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.
Vladimir Putin says personal relationships with all world leaders are important, but tellingly singled out several politicians with whom he drops official titles.
Putin was asked by a blogger on national television during his marathon annual call-in on Thursday whether Russian Federation might block Instagram and YouTube.
However, when asked if he will remain in power as prime minister after his current presidential term ends in 2024 – which the constitution dictates must be his last as president – Putin did not rule it out.
The Russian economy has rebounded, however, and Putin emphasized that lifting the sanctions would answer common interests.