Russian President Vladimir Putin has said President Donald Trump is "right" to complain that global oil prices are too high — but added Trump is to blame for higher prices.
"President Trump has said he thinks the oil price is too high. Well, probably to some extend he's right, but we are absolutely OK with it at $65 to $75 per barrel to ensure the efficient operation of oil companies and ensure investment," Putin said Wednesday during an address to delegates at the Russia Energy Week forum in Moscow.
"But let's be frank, such oil prices are to some extent the result of the U.S. administration. I'm talking about sanctions against Iran, about political problems in Venezuela and just looking at what's happening in Libya."
Putin added: "If we touched upon the topic we are discussing now with him (Trump), I would say, if you want to find the culprit of who's guilty that prices are growing then you should just have a look in the mirror."
Putin's comments come after Trump criticized Russia and OPEC for a 2016 deal in which they agreed to curb oil output in a bid to support prices that had slumped in mid-2014 due to a glut in global supply.
The deal has worked and oil prices rose. The deal, and subsequent price rise, has drawn criticism from Trump, who said OPEC, Saudi Arabia and Russia are keeping prices high and called on them to increase production and thereby bring down oil prices.
Trump's criticism of the major oil producers ignores the fact that his own decision to implement sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela has also put pressure on oil prices, with markets fearing a shortfall in global supply.
Saudi Arabia and Russia have said they could fill any shortfall created by Iran when sanctions go into effect on November 4. The group of OPEC and non-OPEC producers already agreed back in June to ease production limits, in order to take some pressure off prices.
Putin defended the deal with OPEC, saying the aim was to balance markets.
"As for the reduction of production and keeping it quite low, this is just a tool, this is not our goal. Our goal is to balance the market, when we along with our colleagues from OPEC agreed to cut production this is what we talked about, cutting excessive stocks… This is not about the income of oil companies," he said.
"If the market is not balanced, there is a situation which leads to reduced investment and finally this will create a deficit on the market and prices will leap."