Russia: Putin goes ‘off-script,’ slams US ‘forces’ undermining Russian-American relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin went «off-script» while addressing a meeting of ambassadors and permanent representatives of the Russian Federation at the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Moscow on Thursday, severely criticising «forces» in the United States seeking to undermine Russian-American relations at their own expense. «Going off script and speaking personally, I'd like to say a few words... Еще,» the Russian president said. «We see that there are forces in the US which are prepared at the drop of a hat to sacrifice Russian-American relations for the sake of their internal political ambitions in America,» he said. «They are prepared to sacrifice the interests of their own businesses» and «the interests of their allies in Europe and the Middle East,» as well as «their own national security,» Putin said. «These people are neither despicable or pathetic,» he said referring to famous Russian satirists. «The opposite, they quite powerful and strong of they can peddle, sorry for my expression, various hard to swallow stories to millions of people,» he concluded. During his speech, Putin also stressed the need to «develop relations with the European Union» despite current political tensions. He also said that any country looking to try and include Ukraine or Georgia in the NATO sphere of influence «should think of the possible consequences of this irresponsible policy» because Russia would «respond in kind to any aggressive steps that directly threaten Russian.» The speech comes days after Putin and US President Donald Trump held bilateral talks in Helsinki. Trump has faced harsh criticism back home after appearing to side with Russia instead of the FBI over Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

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