Putin Reassures Russians on Economy, Gas Prices in Call-In Show

Casey Dawson
June 9, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hopes that the European Union will start paying proper attention to what he described as major violations of the rights of Russian-speaking residents in the Baltic countries.

When asked by journalist Armin Wolf why there had been no US-Russia bilateral summit since Trump became president, Putin said he had met Trump a few times at worldwide events but signaled that there were no immediate plans for a formal meeting.

"To those who for the last 15 years have been trying to fan an arms race, achieve unilateral advantage against Russian Federation, impose sanctions, which are illegal from the standpoint of global law and are aimed at holding back the development of our country, including in the military area, I have this to say: All the things you were trying to prevent through your policies have already happened".

Responding to speculation that authorities might be looking to scrap the flat income tax, Putin said his government has decided that this is "not expedient" at this point.

Trump "pushing Europe into Putin's hands".

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, "We believe a win-win situation is more beneficial to both sides than a lose-lose situation". "Instead of restraining whoever, it would be better to establish constructive cooperation, and then the overall effect on the global economy would be positive".

Mr Trump said in March that the two leaders would meet soon.

"This is the imposition of sanctions, expressed in a different way", he said, adding that he had warned other Western nations years ago they would suffer from USA dominance. He said Russian Federation learned that lesson in a clash with the West over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

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"Indeed, Donald Trump and I have, firstly, met a few times at various worldwide venues", Putin said according to an official transcript available on the Kremlin's website.

Putin went on: "Our partners probably thought that these counterproductive policies would never affect them". Nobody wanted to listen, and nobody did anything to stop this from developing.

Regardless, the Russian leader looked far more comfortable than he was during a recent interview with Austria's national ORF channel in which Putin repeatedly grew testy over the journalist's line of inquiry and repeated follow-up questions.

Why did he warn Ukraine not to try anything during the World Cup?

"Our national team has not demonstrated strong results recently, but the number of fans of this lovely sport here is massive; it's in the millions".

Such restrictions "will gradually be dissolved", Putin said.

"If you put it together with an earlier joke that Russian Federation had influenced the USA election, all in all it sounds quite amusing: We have allegedly meddled with the presidential election in the USA and Trump as a thank you has presented us with Europe".

"Before he became a candidate or president, Donald Trump was the ideal target for Russian intelligence. If we combine it with an earlier joke - that Russian Federation influenced the USA election - all that sounds quite amusing".

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