Russian President Putin accuses BBC of supporting jailed opposition leader Navalny

Elias Hubbard
June 27, 2017

The catchiest comment from today's broadcast is Putin's sarcastic offer of asylum for former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whom he likened to the American whistleblower Edward Snowden-currently living in Russia-for making private information public via the media.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin sits for his annual Direct Line question and answer session Thursday, surrounded by a studio audience.

Putin also commented on former FBI Director James B. Comey's acknowledgement that he has given his account of conversations with President Trump on the matter to a friend who leaked them to the media. "The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said there was Russian interference in the USA election process but again gave no evidence", said Putin.

When asked about increased Western sanctions in response to Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. elections and the country's intervention in Ukraine, Putin described them as "unexpected". He reiterated his assentation that the anti-Russian sentiment in the United States come from internal political strife in America.

Putin was referring to Comey's testimony to the US Senate's Intelligence Committee.

"This means we can negotiate and work together".

Putin noted that the United States are not ideal, too, they are interfering in dozens of countries by financing NGOs.

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

During the tightly choreographed show, Putin said the country has climbed out of recession despite ongoing Western sanctions, adding that the restrictions have forced Russians to "switch on our brains" to reduce dependence on energy exports.

Putin cites the Iran nuclear deal as a "positive example of our cooperation" with Washington, although President Trump deems this as "the worst deal ever negotiated". Asked if he would be willing for dialogue with the opposition, Putin said he would talk to people who really wanted to improve people's lives, but not those who "use the difficulties we have for their own political PR".

Tens of thousands rallied Monday in Russia's 11 times zones to protest official corruption, heeding a call by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

His comments on Comey and the leaks aside, Putin made a note on the show that Russian Federation actively seeks cooperation with the United States.

"I want to say that the voter, the Russian people should decide this", Mr Putin said, adding that the President in the next term should increase people's incomes.

The president earlier talked of having grandchildren to film director Oliver Stone in a documentary released this month in the United States but not yet shown in Russian Federation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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