MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Thursday denounced as “illegal” U.S. plans for new sanctions against his country and scorned investigations into the Trump campaign’s relations with Russia as political hysteria. Moscow, Putin warned, could not “put up forever with this boorishness.”
But, speaking in Helsinki during a joint news conference with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, Putin said he would wait until a final text of the new sanctions legislation had been adopted before deciding how to respond.
The comments were Putin’s first public response to a push in Congress to enact stepped-up sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea and limit President Donald Trump’s ability to overturn the restrictions.
Putin said the sanctions were illegal under international law and violated the rules of the World Trade Organization, which Russia joined in 2012.
Moscow’s political elite cheered Trump’s election victory in November, expecting that he would quickly reverse sanctions imposed under President Barack Obama, which included the seizure in December of two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland. Since then, Moscow’s hopes of a swift warming of ties under Trump have evaporated amid multiple investigations in Washington into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia before the election.
Echoing Trump’s own repeated assertion that the Russia investigation was “fake news” ginned up by crestfallen Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Putin said he did not consider the various probes underway in Washington an investigation “because an…
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