New hypersonic missiles guarantee parity with US, Vladimir Putin says

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As he watches Europe's confrontation with President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be enjoying an "I told you so" moment.

"Indeed, Donald Trump and I have, firstly, met a few times at various worldwide venues", Putin said according to an official transcript available on the Kremlin's website.

"The congressional election campaign is getting under way and then there will be the next presidential election, and the President of the United States is coming under attack over various matters", Putin said.

Replying to a question about worldwide pressure against Moscow, Putin explained that these accusations and sanctions are aimed at containing Russia's development.

"It's related to the pragmatic national interests of the United States, as its current leadership perceives them", he said.

Putin went on: "Our partners probably thought that these counterproductive policies would never affect them". Nobody wanted to listen, and nobody did anything to stop this from developing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews a guard of honor upon Putin's arrival at Hofburg palace on June 5, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. He referred some questions to regional governors, government ministers and state company heads who were shown on giant TV monitors sitting at their desks across Russian Federation, waiting to be quizzed.

The phone-in was Putin's first since being re-elected to a historic fourth Kremlin term in March, and comes just a week before Russian Federation is set to host the World Cup.

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The videoconferencing element was a new addition to the yearly call-in show.

"The sanctions and all the restrictions imposed for political reasons... are no way to resolve political issues", Putin said after talks in Vienna with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen.

At the start of a new presidential term and on a drive to improve living standards, Putin also used the event to try to reassure Russians about the economy.

The country also continues to be a major hub for the import of Russian gas into Europe, and saw trade with Russia increase by 40% over the a year ago, in spite of the sanction regime.

Over the weekend, Strache - whose party in 2016 signed a cooperation agreement with the main Kremlin party, United Russia - said it was time to lift sanctions against Russia. Isn't it ridiculous?' Putin asked.

Earlier, Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache said in an interview with the newspaper Oesterreich that "it is high time to put an end to these painful sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russian Federation". One of the hosts asked him to tell a joke.

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

"First we allegedly influence the U.S. presidential election, and in exchange he gives us Europe as gift. Total nonsense. There's no way to describe this other than as a joke".

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