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>> Russia's president has leapt to the defense of his US counterpart Donald Trump. Hurling accusations at the American's opponents and lamenting what he called the quote spy mania gripping Washington.>> This is all invented by the people who oppose Trump, to give his work an illegitimate character.>> Vladimir Putin was speaking at his annual year-end news conference in Moscow.
Asked by a reporter what he thought about Trump's record in office, Putin said it wasn't for him to judge, but that he, quote, saw significant achievements from the Trump administration. Reuters bureau chief in Moscow, Christian Lowe, has been following the conference.>> Vladimir Putin spoke fairly warmly about his US counterpart Donald Trump.
He said that they are on first name terms when they speak on the telephone or meet in person, and he said that the Trump administration had some notable accomplishments. He mentioned in particular how well US markets are doing, which he said was testament to the policies of the Trump administration.
So why is he talking this line with Trump? Well relations between United States and Russia in itself are pretty awful, there are a lot of problems, lot of criticism going back and forth. Putin on the start of this year, went out on quite a limp by saying that he supported Trump during presidential campaign, and that he thought he could establish a good working relationship with Trump.
If now he were to acknowledge to everyone back at home that his policy hasn't worked out, then he would lose face.>> However, he did warn that a US strike on North Korea would have catastrophic consequences, and that both sides have to stop escalating the situation. The President focused on issues in his own country as well, appearing to blame political opponents for a lack of genuine opposition.
Putin refused to give details of his election manifesto, but did reiterate he will run as an Independent candidate in next year's presidential election.