The first question of the annual presser came from foreign media.
ABC News asks about the US probe into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia:
ABC: “How would you explain the number of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia… and how would you asses the Trump presidency?”
Putin: “It’s up to the American people to assess Trump, not me. But look at the markets, they are up, indicating investors trust him. We also respect the US opposition. I don’t know if Trump still has the same desire to cooperate closely with us, but I hope we can work closely on a range of issues.”
On the issue of alleged collusion with the Trump campaign:
Putin: “That’s been invented by those aiming to de-legitimize Trump. These people don’t understand they are undermining their own country, they aren’t showing respect for Americans that voted for Trump.
On contacts between Russian diplomats and Americans:
Putin: “It is standard practice for diplomats to talk – what’s so strange about this? Why do you have this ‘Russia spy hysteria?'”
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