Putin: Russia seeks to work with US on key issues despite nadir in ties
In his annual tightly-choreographed live TV show to answer a wide range of questions from citizens, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russians "don't believe America is our enemy", adding that Moscow is ready to cooperate with Washington on such key issues as fighting international terrorism, tackling the North Korea nuclear and missile problem, and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Rejecting allegations that his country interfered in the American presidential election, Putin alleged "domestic political problems" had created "Russophobia" in the US recently. As to former FBI Director James Comey's statement during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that he had "no doubt" of Russian interference, Putin said Comey had not offered any proof. He said sarcastically that the ousted FBI head might be offered asylum in Russia, like Edward Snowden was, if he faced "political persecution". Putin said it was "weird" that Comey made memos of conversations with President Donald Trump and then handed them over to the media via a friend.
The Russian president has held the call-in show almost every year since 2001. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Russian citizens had sent in 1.8 million questions and messages for the show via social media and a special website.