Putin: Trump and I 'regularly talk over the phone'

Anton Novoderezhkin  TASS

Anton Novoderezhkin TASS

"I have no doubts that they [the armaments] will be delivered to the Russian Army on schedule", Putin said. We see and understand what is going on in Iraq.

"The introduction of U.S. 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".

"It appears our partners thought that this would never affect them, this counterproductive politics of restrictions and sanctions", he said. "But now we are seeing that this is happening".

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, watches the troops marching as he and Syrian President Bashar Assad visit the Hmeimim air base in Syria, December 11, 2017. Well, there you go, you've been hit. You've been hit. Dinner is served.

"All the facilities need to be able to cover their costs", Putin said during an annual phone-in on Thursday. "Please sit down and eat".

"I still hope that this meeting - a very courageous and mature decision US President Donald Trump has made, to have direct contacts with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - will take place, and we all expect a positive outcome", Mr Putin told China Media Group.

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The United States, the European Union and other Western allies introduced a slew of sanctions against Moscow over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and for its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"How low the Western information and political environment has fallen if a restaurateur from Russian Federation could influence elections in the United States or a European country", the Russian Federation leader said.

"One of the very well-known publishers in Germany wrote that President [Donald] Trump is pushing Europe into Putin's hands", he said. Putin said "unilateral sanctions do not resolve problems" and insisted they were imposed because "Russia is seen as a threat, because Russian Federation is seen as becoming a competitor".

The legislation gives the president, among other things, the power to sever ties with unfriendly countries, and to ban trade of goods with those countries. "The congressional election campaign is getting under way and then there will be the next presidential election, and the President of the United States is coming under attack over various matters". "We apparently influenced the election of the USA president, and then he gifted us Europe. Complete nonsense", Putin remarked, noting that such a statement can only be regarded as a joke.

"Infrastructure built in Russian Federation for the World Cup should pay off in the future and be used for the development of popular sports".

Critics complain it is a choreographed event created to let Russian citizens feel empowered to influence government decisions.

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