- Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country has always had "great respect" for the U.S. and hopes it will not be accused of meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
- Speaking to an audience at the Russia Calling investment forum in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said he believed Russia had "many common interests with the United States."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country has always had "great respect" for the U.S. and hopes it will not be accused of meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
Speaking to an audience at the Russia Calling investment forum in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said he believed Russia had "many common interests with the United States."
"The U.S. is a great power, and we have always treated them with great respect, were twice allies in the two world wars, this is our common history," he said, according to a translation.
Relations between Putin and President Donald Trump have been cordial despite a raft of U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia following its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its role in a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine and its meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
There have been signs of sanction fatigue in Europe but Trump has been under pressure from U.S. lawmakers not to ease pressure on Russia, however. Russia's neighbor Ukraine is currently under the spotlight following a phone call between Trump and its new President Volodymyr Zelensky that prompted an impeachment inquiry into the U.S. president, who is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival Joe Biden. Trump denies the accusation.
Putin said he hoped Russia would not be accused of meddling again as the focus has shifted on Ukraine. "Hopefully no one accuses us of election interference in the United States. Now they're accusing Ukraine. We'll let them deal with that themselves," he said.
"But these factors of internal politics and the internal political struggle in the United States has a negative impact on Russian-American relations. I hope this will come to an end in the future — we are ready," he said.
U.S. sanctions that were first imposed on Russia in 2014 made the country "anxious" at first, Putin told the audience of investors in Moscow, but he insisted they had in fact spurred the economy to be more self-reliant.
"We all have made a very serious and great step to increase our economic and technical sovereignty. In this sense, of all these limitations and sanctions were useful for our economy," he said.
Putin added that sanctions had led to billions of dollars of trade losses for Europe and less for Russia. He also said that the U.S. had "shot themselves in the leg" by limiting U.S.-Russian trade.
The sanctions from 2014 onwards affected certain Russian sectors, including the financial industry, entities and individuals. The sanctions lists have increased each year and global risk management firm The Risk Advisory Group noted in September that the list now consists of more than 500 companies and 300 individuals.
But Russia has now largely weathered the restrictions after a period of capital flight and a financial crisis a few years ago. Russian equities are among some of the world's top performers this year amid relatively low valuations and a strengthening currency.
Net returns on the MSCI Russia index were up more than 40% year-to-date as compared to the overall MSCI Emerging Market Index, which was up 10.35% in the same period, data from the MSCI at the end of October showed.
Russia's central bank has tamed high inflation in the last few years with a policy of high interest rates (the interest rate was 17% in December 2014) but has since gradually lowered rates as inflation has fallen.
In October, the central bank again cut its main interest rate by a surprising 50 basis points to 6.5% and signaled that it could cut the rate again in the coming months. In its October statement, Russia's central bank said that "the Russian economy's growth rate still remains subdued" and it maintained its 2019 GDP growth forecast in the range of 0.8–1.3%.