Putin: Trump’s Political Opponents Block Efforts to Improve Relations with Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks that the political opponents of President Donald Trump are preventing him from strengthening the relations with Kremlin. According to Putin, reports about the alleged Russian interference in U.S. presidential election were invented and the purpose is to create questions about Trump’s legitimacy, Washington Post reported.

“There are things that he would want to do but hasn’t been able to so far, like reforming health care or other goals, for instance he spoke about improving relations with Russia. It’s clear that even if he wanted to, he’s not in a condition to do that because of some clear restrictions created by his opponents,” Putin said during his year-end press conference.

The Russian president expressed hope that Trump still wants to improve relations with Moscow. Putin also said that Trump has had some successes as president like a booming U.S. stock market.

Putin answered other questions too. Regarding the ban on Russian participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, he said that the investigation that revealed the doping program was driven by an attempt to undermine his expected reelection next year.

“The scandal is being ramped up in connection with the Russian domestic political calendar. No matter what anyone says, I am certain and I know that it is very much so,” Putin emphasized.

He said that he would like to see a stronger opposition in Russia, but added that it is not his job to build it up. Speaking about the March presidential election, Putin announced a campaign largely focused on improving the Russian economy. He also said that he will run as an independent and will distance himself from his United Russia political party.

“The simplest thing for me to say is that it isn’t for me to foster opponents, although I should unexpectedly tell you, that I think that our political sphere, like our economic sphere, should be competitive,” Putin said.

Reporters from Russia and the world attended the marathon news conference, which Putin has held traditionally once a year for the last 13 years.

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