Putin: Trump and I 'regularly talk over the phone'

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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.

According to Putin, the best jokes he's heard recently were claims about Donald Trump "pushing Europe into Putin's arms" and about Russia's alleged meddling in U.S. elections.

He added that the political situation was the main reason the two leaders have not had a bilateral summit.

Putin also accused the United States of upsetting the strategic nuclear balance, and said nobody should take any hasty steps: "The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us".

European leaders long ignored his warnings about the dangers of a world dominated by the United States, Putin said Thursday during his nationally broadcast annual call-in show.

While the U.S. dollar now remains the world's only reserve currency, Washington's attempts to limit transactions using USA dollars effectively undermine global trust in the currency's status, Putin said. 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.


CALL ME DONALD: 'In a recent telephone conversation, Donald said he was anxious about the possibility of a new arms race.

"Indeed, he runs a restaurant business, it is his job; he is a restaurant keeper in St Petersburg", Putin said.

'Could it be that the media and political standards in the countries of the consolidated West have been driven down to such a low level that a Russian restaurant keeper can sway voters in a European country or the United States?

In a press conference, attended by Kurdistan 24's Moscow Bureau Chief Khoshawi Mohammed, Putin expressed Russia's historic, healthy, friendly and coordinated relations with the Kurds, praising the Kurdish people's struggle for defending its rights.

Putin, who is at the start of a new six-year term in office, always fields a smattering of foreign policy questions which he typically uses to lash out at the West with whom Moscow's relations are at a post Cold War low.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in a conflict that pits Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. When pressed further, he pointed to Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros, alleging that Soros meddles in the affairs of various nations while "our American friends often tell me that America has nothing to do with it". "The State Department will say that it has nothing to do with them - rather it is Mr Soros" private affair. This is my answer.

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