US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to comment on domestic American politics and to criticize his US counterpart, taking a jab at Donald Trump by saying “He is not my bride, and I’m not his groom.”
Putin made the remarks at a news conference on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in China on Tuesday, answering a question whether the Russian leader was “disappointed” in Trump and in the improvement of Moscow-Washington relations amid a simmering diplomatic feud between the two countries.
Dismissing the question as “very naive,” Putin chastised the reporter and said, "He is not my bride, neither am I his bride or groom," referring to the US president.
“Trump is guided by the national interests of his country, and I by mine. I very much hope that we will be able, as the current US president has said, to reach some compromise in resolving bilateral and international problems,” the Russian president added.
Putin also declined to comment on the prospect of the US president being impeached, saying it would be “absolutely wrong” to discuss US domestic politics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference after BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China, on September 5, 2017.
During the conference, the Russian president censured as “uncivil,” the recent US decision to expel Russian diplomats from a consulate in San Francisco with just two days’ notice.
“The Americans had the right to reduce the number of our diplomatic offices. It is another matter altogether that they have done this in way that was absolutely uncivil. This does not do reflect well on our American partners,” he said.
“It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among part of the American establishment,” Putin noted.
The Russian president further called the shuttering of some Russian diplomatic facilities in the US “an obvious violation of property rights” and said that, “for starters,” he would instruct the Foreign Ministry to challenge the decision in court.
Ties between US and Russia have deteriorated especially since the US intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in last year's election to help Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. The Kremlin has verily dismissed the allegations of interference in the US elections.
In December 2016, then US president Barack Obama ordered out 35 Russian diplomats and closed down two embassy summer houses over reports of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Putin on Ukrainian conflict
At the Tuesday conference, Putin also warned the US against supplying weapons to Kiev, arguing that the decision would fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Putin said arming Ukraine will possibly prompt pro-Russia forces to expand their campaign, stressing that the move would not change the situation and would only add to the number of casualties.
“The delivery of weapons to a conflict zone doesn’t help peacekeeping efforts, but only worsens the situation,” he said. “Such a decision would not change the situation but the number of casualties could increase.”
The Russian president expressed alarm that the self-declared republics in eastern Ukraine have enough weapons to manage any possible war with Ukraine.
Putin also said he would submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council and propose the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in eastern Ukraine.
A Ukrainian serviceman fires a grenade launcher during fighting with pro-Russia forces in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on March 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine after people in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014. The West brands the unification as annexation of the territory by Russia. The US and its allies in Europe also accuse Russia of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, an allegation denied by Moscow.
The crisis has left over 10,000 people dead and more than a million others displaced, according to the United Nations.
In September 2014, the government in Kiev and the pro-Russia forces signed a ceasefire agreement in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in a bid to halt the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern regions, collectively known as the Donbass.
The warring sides also inked another truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015 under the supervision of Russia, Germany, and France. Since then, however, sporadic fighting has occurred, with the parties blaming each other for initiating the violations.

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