Putin says will not change constitution to cling to power

Mar 11, 2018, 01:02
Putin says will not change constitution to cling to power

Putin also denied having close ties to businessman and restaurateur Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of 13 Russians indicted by USA prosecutors for allegedly running a secret campaign to tilt the 2016 USA vote in favour of Donald Trump.

"Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?" Last month, Mueller's probe led to the indictment of 13 Russian nationals, with copious details about their alleged plot to influence the election primarily through fake social media accounts. "Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews - just with a Russian citizenship". Putin told NBC. "There are 146 million Russians". "I couldn't care less. I couldn't care less.They do not represent the interests of the Russian state".

"Maybe they're not even Russians", said Putin. Putin asked in the often-combative interview with NBC television.

Intelligence officials said initially that they could not respond until they had a clearer picture of the scale and scope of Russia's interference.

USA intelligence agencies and many Western analysts have said that Russian interference came at the orders of the Kremlin. "The US imposed sanctions on us", he said.

Kelly listed some of the accusations of Russian interference made by Mueller's office and other U.S. officials, including the spreading of false information online.

The Russian leader also rejected those assessments.

Putin, who faces re-election this year, again denied charges by US intelligence agencies that he ordered the interference.

Putin told Kelly that Trump was "a businessman with vast experience" and "a quick study", though he's new to politics.

"He understands that if it is necessary to establish a cooperative relationship with someone, then you have to treat your current or potential partner with respect", Putin said.

America's leading intelligence agencies concluded a year ago that Putin himself had directed a broad intelligence effort to influence the United States election to undermine Clinton's campaign and boost Trump's chances, but Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Moscow. "Donald is a more modern individual".

"In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data", Bloomberg said.

Asked by U.S. television network NBC whether he would follow in the footsteps of China's Xi Jinping, who is eyeing a limitless tenure, Putin insisted he had no such intentions.

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