Russia: Putin answers questions on US, North Korea and Syria

SOT, Armin Wolf, Austrian journalist (German): «That same commission...» SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): «No, I am asking you, who punished them? Have they received any punishment? Did the coalition attack them immediately? I did not see anything like this.» Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Armin Wolf, a news presenter at the Austrian public broadcaster... Еще ORF, in Moscow this Monday, on the eve of his working visit to Austria. In the wide-ranging interview, Putin answered a number a questions relating to his country's future relationship with the United States, the denuclearisation of North Korea and chemical weapons use in Syria. The Russian premier offered to co-operate with US counterpart Donald Trump on arms control, after the latter expressed concern in a recent telephone conversation. «Donald said he was worried about the possibility of a new arms race. I fully agree with him.» «We should do something about it, give corresponding instructions to our Foreign Ministry and the US State Department,» suggested Putin. As for the possible outbreak of nuclear war between the US and North Korea, the Russian president felt negotiations should lead to compromise on both sides. «I think this road — the road towards denuclearisation of North Korea — should be a two-way road,» he said. «If the North Korean leader is backing up his intentions with practical actions, for example, giving up new tests of ballistic missiles, new nuclear tests, the other side should reciprocate in a tangible manner,» added Putin. During the interview, the Russian leader touched upon the issue of US-led air strikes against Syria earlier this year. Putin argued that the coalition used chemical weapons as the basis for strikes, which also hindered investigations into militants' chemical weapons use in Douma. «You tell me: 'Everyone recognises the use of chemical weapons.' Not everyone. We believe it is fake news, used as a pretext for the missile attack, which is a violation of international law,» held Putin. «Tell me, please: is this the best way to ensure the objectivity of what happened there? I do not think so. I think it was an attempt to create conditions that would make it impossible to investigate thoroughly,» he added. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna on June 5th.

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