Russian President Vladimir Putin says accusations of US President Donald Trump's collusion with Russia have damaged the US political system and demonstrated disrespect for those who voted for Mr Trump.
Speaking at an annual news conference, Mr Putin again rejected claims of interference in the US Presidential election, saying that the accusations against Mr Trump have been spread by his political opponents in a bid to undermine his legitimacy.
He said he was puzzled by the infighting, which "inflicted damage to the domestic political situation" and showed "lack of respect for voters" who chose Mr Trump.
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He noted Mr Trump's achievements, saying that growing markets have demonstrated investors' confidence in Mr Trump's economic course.
He voiced hope for a recovery in the US-Russian ties, emphasising that the two countries need to cooperate on tackling global challenges.
Mr Putin also said he's on first-name terms with Mr Trump, and that it's important world leaders establish effective working relations with each other.
Mr Putin said he would seek to modernise the Russian economy if he's re-elected to another term next March.
He would run as a self-nominated candidate, keeping a distance from the main Kremlin-controlled party, United Russia.
Reuters / Newshub.