Putin: Syria chemical attack was provocation against Assad

They concluded in January that Putin himself had directed a Russian "influence campaign" involving cyberattacks and disinformation meant to tilt the November election in Trump's favour. He added that IP addresses allegedly belonging to Russian hackers could have been easily rigged and couldn't stand as evidence.

"Don't worry, be happy", Putin quipped in the presence of Prime Minister Modi at the Plenary Session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 in Russian Federation.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said earlier on Friday he did not think that Trump's decision to pull his country out of the agreement would prompt a Russian rethink. Nominally private Russian citizens have fought alongside Russian-speaking rebels in eastern Ukraine and have taken part in various campaigns to advance Moscow's agenda in Eastern and Central Europe.

The Russian president praised Trump as "a straightforward person, a frank person" and noted that while some see Trump's lack of political background as a disadvantage, he sees it as beneficial because "he has a fresh set of eyes".

"If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions - which are right, from their point of view - to the fight against those who say bad things about Russian Federation", he added.

Asked by Mr Stone about five alleged assassination attempts, Mr Putin said his security team look after him and that "up to now they haven't done badly".

Belousov said Russian Federation was analysing the USA move, but said Russia's own plans did not depend on the decision of others, including the United States.

"It reminds me of anti-Semitism", Mr Putin said.

"Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting.

But we are not involved at the state level".

"This concerns us greatly, and we've said this repeatedly over the past 10 years", Putin said, referring to USA missile-defense plans.

Putin's comments come as congressional committees and the FBI investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the election.

"No hackers can have a radical impact on an election campaign in another country", Putin said.

Moreover he said that any influence there may have been from any hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign was likely inconsequential. Putin added that USA participation is essential for the success of global efforts.

He also pledged to help improve conditions for US business in Russian Federation.

He further said that the U.S. could have had more leverage to alter the agreement if it stayed in the deal.

"Your brother was martyred", he said, referring to Putin's brother Viktor who died more than 70 years ago during the siege of Leningrad. Of course not. We are thinking about how to respond to these challenges.

  • Jack Mann