Putin tips Russian Federation sanctions to be lifted

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Putin spoke with Austrian news outlet ORF TV ahead of a visit to Vienna on Tuesday. Putin mentioned seeing a German news headline declaring, "Donald Trump pushes Europe into Putin's arms".

Austria takes over the rotating European Union presidency in July and says it wants to act as a bridge between east and west.

"With the Prime Minister of Japan [Shinzo Abe] we use first names and the informal "you" and also with the Chancellor of Germany," said the Russian President, which is perhaps not surprising, as both Putin and Angela Merkel are two of Europe's longest-serving leaders, and spent a significant part of their lives in East Germany.

After pressing Putin on Ukraine, Syria, Russian meddling in Europe and why he had never uttered the name of Russia's most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, who is now in jail, Wolf used his final question to ask why there were so many Kremlin-approved photos of a half-naked Putin. Putin is in Vienna to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the completion of a pipeline that transports Russian gas to Europe.

Officials and observers also point out the presence of a "shadow army" of Russian mercenaries in Syria, including those working for a private military company called Wagner.

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Putin also compared the trade tariffs announced by President Donald Trump on USA allies to Western sanctions against Russian Federation.

"I hope there won't be any provocations, but if it happens, I think it would have very serious consequences for Ukrainian statehood in general", he said. "The congressional election campaign is getting under way and then there will be the next presidential election, and the President of the United States is coming under attack over various matters". Special counsel Robert Mueller in February charged Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman dubbed "Putin's chef", and 12 others in an alleged conspiracy to meddle in the 2016 election. Putin, 65, and his aides say it is an indispensable tool to gauge public sentiment and learn about people's real problems.

"Indeed, he runs a restaurant business, it is his job; he is a restaurant keeper in St Petersburg", Putin said. He is a restaurant keeper in St Petersburg, ' Putin told his interviewer. It is expected that a new contract between the two countries, ensuring gas deliveries until the year 2040, will be signed during the trip.

Russia's state-owned news outlet RT seized on the interview, saying Putin "deflected lunges" from the interviewer who asked about Russian election meddling.

"I try to be on first-name terms with many - nearly all - politicians". Ask them, ' he responded, before pointing the finger at financier George Soros, who he said 'interferes in all affairs around the world'.

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