Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the United States has been gripped by a fabricated "spymania," which is influenced by President Donald Trump's opponents. Putin, however, added that he believes that US-Russia relations, which have taken a major hit, would be one day restored.
Putin also praised Trump for his work so far after assuming the presidency and said that he had garnered uncontested achievements.
"I'm not the one to evaluate the [U.S.] president's work. That needs to be done by the voters, the American people," Putin said while addressing a press briefing of more than 1,600 Russian and foreign reporters in Moscow. This was Putin's annual news conference for the year.
"[But] we are objectively seeing that there have been some major accomplishments, even in the short time he has been working. Look at how the markets have grown. This speaks to investors' trust in the American economy," he said, according to Reuters reports.
Trump, during his presidential campaign last year, had praised Putin on numerous occasions and had said that he was keen to mend ties with Russia, which had worsened to a post-Cold War low. Relations between the countries further soured after US officials said that Russia meddles in the 2016 presidential election to influence a Trump win. Moscow, however, has denied all such allegations.
The US Congress is currently investigating possible contacts between Trump's election campaign members and Russian officials amid fears that Moscow may have assisted the Republican in winning his presidential term.
The Russian President rejected the allegations and said that the talks of Russian involvement in US elections were "fabricated" and "invented by people who oppose Trump to give his work an illegitimate character."
Putin also mentioned the infighting in the US Congress and said that it inflicted damage to the [U.S.] domestic political situation" and showed "lack of respect for voters" who chose to elect Trump.
The Russian leader also warned the US to not use any force against North Korea, saying that if America chooses to do so, then the consequences will be "catastrophic." The US and North Korea ties have also worsened over Pyongyang's burgeoning nuclear ammunition programme. The leaders of both the nations have exchanged bitter words on multiple occasions.
Putin said that Russia opposes North Korea's nuclear bid too, however, it is ready for "constructive" co-operation to halt the escalation of the issue and come up with a solution.
The Kremlin leader also said that the US was behind the Russian doping charges at the 2014 Olympics, which prompted the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Games.
Putin also alleged that the FBI manipulated evidence from the main whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, who is under witness protection after fleeing to the United States in 2016. The Russian President said that Rodchenkov is "under the control" of the FBI and "American special services."
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