Putin praises Trump, rejects US 'spymania'
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the US is in the grip of a fabricated spymania whipped up by President Donald Trump's opponents but believes relations would recover one day.
Putin, who said he was on first name terms with Trump, also praised the US president for what he said were his achievements.
"We are objectively seeing that there have been some major accomplishments, even in the short time he has been working," Putin told his annual news conference in Moscow, on Thursday in answer to a question.Bethlehem peace light arrives in Germany
Look at how the markets have grown. This speaks to investors' trust in the American economy."
Putin told his annual news conference in Moscow, on Thursday in answer to a question.
Congress is also investigating alleged contacts between the Trump election campaign and Russian officials.Powerful winds raise California fire risk
Putin dismissed the allegations and the idea of a Russia connection as "fabricated". He shrugged off accusations that Russia's ambassador to the United States had done something wrong saying it was "international practice" for diplomats to contact all candidates in an election.
"What did someone see that was egregious about this? Why does it all have to take on some tint of spymania?," said Putin.
"This is all invented by people who oppose Trump to give his work an illegitimate character."Trump allies say emails unlawfully gained
Moscow understood that Trump's scope for improving ties with Russia was limited by the scandal, said Putin, but remained keen to try to improve relations.
Washington and Moscow had many common interests, he said, citing the Middle East, North Korea, international terrorism, environmental problems and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
However, Putin lashed out at US policy on North Korea, warning a US strike there would have catastrophic consequences.Exiled king's remains reburied in Italy