Putin, Trump 'Regularly Talk' Over the Phone

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Putin emphasized the chance for a fresh start in relations between Russian Federation and the European Union, stating that ongoing sanctions are, "harmful to everyone - those who initiated them and those who are targeted by them".

Speaking to Austria's ORF channel ahead of a visit to Vienna on Wednesday, Mr Putin said he "fully agreed" with the US President on the possibility that a new arms race between the countries could break out, and hoped the two leaders could work together to prevent it. "They see Russian Federation become their competitor".

On Thursday, Putin doubled down on this argument. United States intelligence said Moscow's nuclear-powered hypersonic cruise missile with "unlimited" range had crashed in tests.

Asked about the Syria conflict, Mr Putin said Russian Federation had ceased combat missions but would keep troops there "as long as it's advantageous".

The Russian leader was responding to a question about special counsel Robert Mueller 's February indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian organizations when he brought up his relationship with the American president. "Well, here it's Mr. Prigozhin's private business", Putin said.

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Putin's statement on Thursday came almost two months after Russian authorities began blocking Telegram, a Russia-developed messaging app, over its refusal to share encryption data with intelligence agencies.

The state television hosts of the show said they didn't want the event to turn into a "book of complaints", and one of the initial questioners went on so long with his praise of the president that they interrupted him. "He is, after all, a little older than me", explained Putin, 65.

Putin admitted that the intelligence community always leans toward banning or blocking things but added that he will encourage them to find "a civilized solution" without "restricting freedoms".

The White House's leak on the possiblity of a summit comes as Putin warned that a third world war "would lead to the end of civilisation" as he accused America of violating the nuclear balance.

Putin also touched on the subject of the World Cup, saying that stadiums built for the event could not be allowed to turn into "markets" as sports facilities did in the turbulent 1990s.

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The Russian government says total World Cup costs are around $11 billion, not including some infrastructure spending.

Last month Putin said any retaliation against western sanctions must not hurt the Russian economy or partners that do business in Russia.

On Thursday, he said Russia's gross domestic product is now 1.5 percent higher than a year ago.

After hearing a complaint, Putin often turned to one of Russia's scores of state governors who were at the ready in live video feeds. Yulia Skripal has said since the incident she wants to return to Russian Federation at some point in the future.

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