Putin Tells Europe on US Trade Threat: 'I Told You So'

Putin signs law on countermeasures against US & its allies

Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on 7 May 2018 after being re-elected as president.

Putin made the comments during his live televised annual phone-in with the Russian people.

"The introduction of USA tariffs on steel, on aluminum, not only for Europe but also for Canada and Mexico, are sanctions disguised in other terms", said Putin, noting that both Donald Trump's recent tariffs, and the long-standing sanctions against Moscow over alleged election meddling and Ukraine, both served to advance "American national interests".

Putin first said in March 2016 that the country's military campaign in Syria was coming to an end.

In his previous interview with ORF, Putin said Russian Federation is interested in a united and prosperous European Union, as the bloc is Russia's largest trading partner. It's because Russian Federation is regarded as a threat, because they perceive Russian Federation as a rival.

"We believe that with joint efforts from both sides, the visit will be successful and fruitful and inject strong new impetus into the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination", she said.

"They are temporary but we will keep them there while it is necessary and is required by our economic interests", he said.

"Experts are already discussing this".

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"If as Britain insists a military chemical agent was used against these people, they would have died within second or minutes, on the spot".

As Putin said, "the understanding of the fact that World War III might become the end of the current civilization" should keep the world powers from rash and unsafe actions on the global arena.

However "the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was an attempt to break that strategic parity", he added.

According to Putin, the best jokes he's heard recently were claims about Donald Trump "pushing Europe into Putin's arms" and about Russia's alleged meddling in USA elections.

Asked about his interactions with U.S. President Donald Trump, Putin said political infighting in Washington was hampering their contacts. "If we combine it with an earlier joke about Russian Federation allegedly influencing U.S. elections, it all sounds pretty amusing", he said.

"The 13 people indicted are accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the USA election that allegedly included running a huge social media campaign from their headquarters in St. Petersburg, dubbed the "'troll farm". He added, however, that he could pull them out of the country quickly if necessary. "Utter idiocy. You can't describe this as anything other than a joke".

Putin's interview with Austrian news presenter Armin Wolf grew heated when Wolf asked about allegations that Putin had meddled in the domestic politics of other countries.

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