Vladimir Putin: Lifting Russia sanctions would benefit all

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during a joint news conference with Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna, Austria on June 5, 2018.

Regarding recent worldwide negotiations with North Korea, Putin said he supported China's efforts to ease regional tensions and create a "roadmap" for the North's denuclearisation.

He emphasized that his meeting with Mr. Trump would be important as an opportunity to discuss arms control and preventing a new arms race.

Moscow retaliated in kind but Putin has repeatedly said the sanctions were ineffective and counter-productive.

"It's related to the pragmatic national interests of the United States, as its current leadership perceives them", he said.

"It appears our partners thought that this would never affect them, this counterproductive politics of restrictions and sanctions". Nobody wanted to listen, and nobody did anything to stop this from developing. He referred some questions to regional governors, government ministers and state company heads who were shown on giant TV monitors sitting at their desks across Russian Federation, waiting to be quizzed.

Putin has variously denied Russian meddling and said that "patriotically minded" hackers may have been involved separately from the Russian government.

This year, the Interfax news agency reported Putin would forego his usual studio audience, field text and video questions on a series of TV monitors, and hand out real time orders to regional governors and government ministers who have been told to be at their desks when the event starts at 0900 GMT.

The videoconferencing element was a new addition to the yearly call-in show.

Austria takes over the rotating European Union presidency in July and says it wants to act as a bridge between east and west.

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.

Austria's OMV is now among European companies involved in the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany, skirting transit countries such as Ukraine - a project opposed by the United States and some other EU members.

Putin also used the interview to cast himself as a pragmatist who wasn't always going to take a hard line on foreign policy or civil rights.

The Russian president said he was not planning to withdraw his military forces from Syria and would remain there as long as their presence serves Russia's interests. Isn't it ridiculous?' Putin asked.

Putin denounced the 2001 USA withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the then-Soviet Union as "an attempt to put an end to strategic parity, but we will respond to this". "One can't call this anything else but a joke".

  • Kyle Peterson