Putin sick of Russians living in 'huts'

Jun 16, 2017, 06:07

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Thursday during his yearly live call-in show, saying that he would offer political asylum to fired Federal Bureau of Investigation head James Comey in the same way Russia has sheltered former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Comparing Comey to Snowden, Putin said, "It makes him not a security service director, but a civil activist advocating a certain belief".

Snowden, a computer professional who had done contractual work for the U.S. National Security Agency, is now living under asylum in Russian Federation.

"[Comey] suddenly said he recorded a conversation with Trump, and then handed the tape over to the media, which is unusual".

In his testimony before the US Senate last week, Comey said there was "no doubt" that Russia interfered in November's presidential election, and said that the plot reached to the highest echelons of Russian state.

The United States always interfered in Russian elections, doing so especially aggressively in 2012, the same thing happens in all former USSR countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

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"As for us, we have our opinion, we say it openly, but it's not some kind of underground sabotage activity", he said.

"We know that now there is a bill in the US Senate regarding toughening sanctions. Why?"

Putin said this while holding his annual "Direct Line" Q&A call-in session today.

Putin also offered a glimpse into his closely guarded private life, saying he has two grandchildren whose privacy he wants to respect.

On a conciliatory note, Putin added that Russian Federation still hopes for normalization of ties with the U.S.

In the US Congress, he noted, they now seek to impose new sanctions against Russia, this time by the Moscow position in the Ukrainian crisis, to which is added the alleged Russian intrusion into the internal affairs of the northern country.

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President Vladimir Putin has voiced hope for normalizing Russia-U.S. ties.

Putin said that the sanctions have given Russian Federation an incentive to shed its dependence on oil and gas exports and "switch on our brains and talents" to develop other industries.

"I am quite sure there is no other way than just to sustain the dialogue further, especially continue talking on non-proliferation, on containment of weapons of mass destruction, on anti-terrorist activities, on all other issues of security of mutual concern - this can not be sustained without the two countries in cooperation". Most questions came from citizens who complained about their low salaries, and Mr. Putin said he was working to address these issues.

Continuing the combative mood, Putin then turned the tables on the United States, saying it was the USA which has sought to influence Russian elections by funding NGOs as part of its aspirations for global domination.

"I think it's better not to touch anything", he said.

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