US ‘ignores Russia intel on militants’
“There is no [U.S.] reaction,” Putin told his annual news conference. “Why? Because they [in the U.S.] are thinking that they [fighters] could be used to fight [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad. This is the simplest thing. But at the same time, the most dangerous thing, including for those who are doing this.”
The U.S. was in the grip of a “fabricated spymania” whipped up by President Donald Trump’s opponents but he thought battered U.S.-Russia relations would recover one day, Putin also said.
He praised the U.S. president for what he said were his 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 told the news conference, in answer to a question.
“[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.”
Trump took office in January, saying he was keen to mend ties which had fallen to a post-Cold War low. But since then, ties have soured further after U.S. officials said Russia meddled in the presidential election, something Moscow denies.
Congress is also investigating alleged contacts between the Trump election campaign and Russian officials amid fears that Moscow may have tried to exercise improper influence.
Putin dismissed those allegations and the idea of a Russia connection as “fabricated.”
“This is all invented by people who oppose Trump to give his work an illegitimate character. The people who do this are dealing a blow to the state of [U.S.] domestic politics,” he added, saying the accusations were disrespectful to U.S. voters.
Moscow understood that Trump’s scope to improve 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.