Thursday, December 14, 2017

Putin Praises Trump, Blames US 'Spy-Mania' for Meddling Claims

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered warm words for U.S. leader Donald Trump, dismissing allegations of links between the Kremlin and the White House as "some sort of spy-mania."

"We see some quite serious achievements, even in this short period of time that he's been working," Putin said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday. "Look at the markets, how they've risen. That shows investors' confidence in the American economy, it shows they believe in what President Trump is doing in this area."

Accusations in the U.S. of links between Russia and members of the Trump administration "are all invented by people who are in opposition to Trump in order to make his work look illegitimate," Putin said. Trump has repeatedly highlighted surging U.S. stock markets as evidence that his political agenda is succeeding.

Putin, 65, is holding court after declaring last week that he'll seek to extend his 18 years in power for another six years in March presidential elections. Russian frustration is mounting after Trump came to power in January promising a new era in relations following tensions under the Obama administration.

Instead, relations have soured further amid intensifying U.S. investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign to help Trump win. The Kremlin and Trump have repeatedly denied the accusations.

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