Vladimir Putin laughs, ignores journalist in agonising US TV interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his first TV interview after meeting with US President Donald Trump, and things got awkward.

The autocrat rarely speaks to Western media, but agreed to be interviewed by Chris Wallace from Fox News on Sunday (local time).

Their meeting began cordially enough, but the exchange - conducted using an interpreter - went downhill when Mr Wallace brought up the subject of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which saw Mr Trump become President. 

Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on Friday (local time) for conspiring to hack the Democratic National Committee and meddling in another country's election.

When Mr Wallace brought out the document showing the indictment, Mr Putin began giggling. When he tried to hand the document to the President, he simply refused to take it.

The awkward moment only ended when Mr Wallace was forced to place the document on a side table.

The moment Vladimir Putin refused to take the indictment document from journalist Chris Wallace.
The moment Vladimir Putin refused to take the indictment document from journalist Chris Wallace. Photo credit: Fox News

The conversation then became very heated, with Mr Putin dismissing the allegations of Russian interference as "utterly ridiculous".

When Mr Wallace tried to press him to answer specific questions about the indictments, Mr Putin told him to stop interrupting.

He also rejected the idea that the Russian government possesses 'kompromat' (compromising material) involving Mr Trump or his family.

"We don't have anything on them," Mr Putin said. "I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this - and I may come [across] as rude - but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us."

Before the interview, Mr Putin met with Mr Trump for a controversial one-on-one meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

The two leaders then gave a joint press conference in which Mr Trump made the extraordinary claim that he believed the Russian President over his own intelligence officials on the issue of election interference.

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but President Putin was incredibly strong in his denial."

His comments have been met with backlash from both Democrats and Republicans.