In Austria, Putin calls for lifting sanctions, Kurz sticks by European Union position

Russia 'not trying to split EU', says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a live nationwide broadcast call-in in Moscow, Russia June 7, 2018.

As Vladimir Putin tried to answer as numerous 2 million questions from Russians he could in four and a half hours, personal answers served as interjections to sharp commentary about Russia's complex relationship with the West.

Putin also addressed tariffs the USA imposed on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and other long-term allies in the European Union, likening them to unjustified economic sanctions.

Putin first said in March 2016 that the country's military campaign in Syria was coming to an end.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he warned European countries years ago about the risk of the United States imposing its rules on others, and that now they are paying the price for ignoring him.

"We believe that with joint efforts from both sides, the visit will be successful and fruitful and inject strong new impetus into the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination", she said.

"It appears our partners thought that this would never affect them, this counterproductive politics of restrictions and sanctions", he said.

"They will stay there as long as it is beneficial to Russian Federation and to ensure our global obligations".

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"The tragedy we are talking about is awful, and I feel immensely sorry for the victims and their families, but this investigation must be objective and comprehensive", he said.

"If, as Britain claims, a military-grade agent was used against these people, they would've died in a matter of minutes or seconds".

When asked whether a global conflict might break out, Putin quoted legendary physicist Albert Einstein, who once said that while he doesn't know what weapons might be used to wage Third World War, "World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones".

"The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the global arena that are highly risky for modern civilization", Putin said when asked to comment about recent worldwide volatility.

In interviews with two major European newspapers, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz lifted the veil on the plans of his country's EU presidency, which starts on 1 July.

"So, we influenced the USA elections, and he gifted us Europe in return?" he asked.

President Putin said his meetings with Austrian leaders had been "very constructive but not easy". "Utter idiocy. You can't describe this as anything other than a joke".

Russia, just like any other country, can not have "its own cryptocurrency" because the very concept of cryptocurrency "transcends national borders", Vladimir Putin said.

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