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08 June 2018, 05:16 | Regina Holmes
Mikhael Klimentyev Sputnik
Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz has friends in high places, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he will host in Vienna today.
"It appears our partners thought that this would never affect them, this counterproductive politics of restrictions and sanctions".
Putin mentioned that he had spoken on the phone with Trump recently about their shared intent to avoid an arms race, adding "I hope that someday this work in the interests of the United States and Russian Federation, indeed in the interests of the whole world, will begin, including between us personally".
Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews a guard of honor upon Putin's arrival at Hofburg palace on June 5, 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
Putin praised his military forces, maintaining they helped combat terrorism in Syria and said their actions helped stabilize the situation there.
Russian state TV reported the public submitted about 2 million questions during the annual phone-in, which Putin has used since 2001 to position himself as a domestic problem solver and a strong defender of Russia's interests on the global stage.
Putin has variously denied Russian meddling and said that "patriotically minded" hackers may have been involved separately from the Russian government.
The pace of Trump-Putin calls is about the same as Putin had with Obama during his first two years in office, when the leaders spoke nine times.
However, it has been watered down since it was first conceived by lawmakers in response to the new round of USA sanctions on Russian businesses.
Putin addressed the Russian military presence in Syria.
The Russian president said the West's sanctions against Russia served as a "means of containing" his country. Asked by a young blogger whether the government had plans to shut down Instagram and YouTube, Putin insisted that it does not.
"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. One can't call this anything else but a joke".
'In a recent telephone conversation, Donald said he was anxious about the possibility of a new arms race.
In early 2017, the USA intelligence community found that Putin directed his intelligence services to meddle in the presidential election, and assessed that "Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the United States presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes". "Total nonsense. There's no way to describe this other than as a joke".
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