Putin tips Russian Federation sanctions to be lifted

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk on the phone "regularly" and bump into each other at global events, but are still waiting for a one-on-one meeting, says Putin in an interview with Austrian TV this week.

"Both those who initiate these actions and those such measures that we call sanctions are aimed against find them harmful", Putin said in Vienna on Tuesday, claiming that European countries were merely "finding it hard to say so".

Although relations between Russia and the European Union have been strained since its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine and, most recently, over the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in England, Austria has maintained friendly ties to Moscow.

The Russian leader will meet government and business leaders in Austria on a visit which formally marks 50 years since the two countries' energy firms Gazprom and OMV first signed a gas supply deal.

"Russia, of all countries, is not interested in it because North Korea is our neighbor", Putin said, according to a transcript of the interview published by the Russian presidency.

"It will be of great significance to planning the development of China-Russia relations and promoting bilateral cooperation in various fields", said Hua. He had meetings later on Tuesday with conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, whose nationalist Freedom Party entered the government in December as the junior coalition partner. For his part, Van der Bellen underscored Austria's traditional desire "to defuse tensions" adding, "Russia is clearly a part of Europe and not something external".

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood weighs in on Putin's visit to Austria.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, right, shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After pressing Putin on Ukraine, Syria, Russian meddling in Europe and why he had never uttered the name of Russia's most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, who is now in jail, Wolf used his final question to ask why there were so many Kremlin-approved photos of a half-naked Putin.

"Under such circumstances, it makes little sense - viewed from a purely economic point of view - to replace Russian gas with American liquefied gas", he told reporters. Polish President Andrzej Duda said at a joint news conference with Frank-Walter Steinmeier that he believes Nord Stream 2 would undermine the security of central and eastern Europe.

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