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Putin Press Conference at G20 Emphasizes His Meeting with Trump Was a Good Start on Improving Relations, Progress on Syria

July 9, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a wide-ranging press conference at the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 8. In it he answered questions about his lengthy bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, whom he described as "a very down to earth and direct person" who "analyzes things pretty fast." Putin said that

"I think that if we build our relations in the vein of our meeting yesterday, there are good reasons to believe that we will be able to revive, at least partially, the level of interaction we need."

Asked if Russian-U.S. relations can be pulled out of deep crisis, Putin said: "I very much hope so, and it seems to me that we have built certain prerequisites for this."

On the infamous issue of supposed Russian "interference" in the U.S. Presidential election, Putin stated:

"The U.S. President asked me this question directly, and we discussed it. And this was not a single question, there were many, and he gave much attention to this issue. Russia’s stance is well-known and I reiterated it. There is no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the U.S. election process.... I answered all of his questions as far as I could. I think he took note and agreed. But it would be better if you asked him about what he thinks about it."

Putin was very strong on the progress made on Syria, stating that the deal on the southern de-escalation zone "is one of the breakthroughs we have made in our work with President Trump. This is a real result of cooperation, including with the United States.... The fact that active military operations have ceased, the fact that we are now discussing de-escalation zones is a huge step forward."