Putin warns Ukraine against military action in east during World Cup

Mikhail Klimentyev  Presidential press-service  TASS

Mikhail Klimentyev Presidential press-service TASS

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed gratitude to Austria's leader Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for the friendly and open atmosphere during his visit to Vienna.

"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.

However Putin portrayed the development of the new generation of weapons as a reaction to the United States pulling out of a major arms treaty that he said had ensured strategic parity.

"Donald said he was anxious about the possibility of a new arms race", the Russian president told the Austrian network."I fully agree with him - however, to prevent a possible arms [race], we should think about it, we should do something about it, give corresponding instructions to our Foreign Ministry and the US State Department".

Putin was responding to a question about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations in February.

"The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the global arena that are highly risky for modern civilization", Putin said during his annual televised call-in show where he fields questions from the public.

"We have continued our cooperation even during hard times", Kurz said after talks with Putin. The two presidents have spoken by phone eight times since Trump was elected, according to readouts available on the White House website.

Russia's state-owned news outlet RT seized on the interview, saying Putin "deflected lunges" from the interviewer who asked about Russian election meddling.

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"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.

Putin told ORF that the Russian government has no connection to Prigozhin's activities.

European leaders long ignored his warnings about the dangers of a world dominated by the United States, Putin said Thursday during his nationally broadcast annual call-in show.

Putin dispensed with his usual studio audience this year, fielding questions asked by text and video.

He will attend a business conference with envoys from both countries.

Putin said he had advised business people to keep their assets inside Russia and said that pressure on Russian businessmen was undermining trust in Western countries.

What about accusations of Russian meddling in the US election? "The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them - rather it is Mr Soros" private affair. "Are you satisfied with it?"

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