Putin visits his best buddy in the EU: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

Inauguration of Russian President Vladimir Putin

After meeting Putin in Vienna, Van der Bellen said some USA politicians claim that the European Union is too dependent on Russian gas, but overlook the fact that American liquefied gas is much more expensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview broadcast on Monday, said he did not want to divide the European Union as he prepared to visit Austria in his first bilateral trip to a West European country in nearly a year.

The president said he had warned in a speech in Munich in 2007 about a growing USA sense of exceptionalism and the risk of it imposing its own rules on other countries.

Moscow retaliated in kind but Putin has repeatedly said the sanctions were ineffective and counter-productive.

While the U.S. dollar now remains the world's only reserve currency, Washington's attempts to limit transactions using USA dollars effectively undermine global trust in the currency's status, Putin said.

The threat of mutually assured destruction helped avoid a nuclear war as it kept nuclear powers from making "abrupt moves and forced them to respect one another", Putin said.

Putin said he had advised business people to keep their assets inside Russia and said that pressure on Russian businessmen was undermining trust in Western countries.

Another hypersonic missile is already in service, said Putin.

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Britain has also blamed the nerve agent poisoning in the United Kingdom of a Russian former spy and his daughter on Russia, which it denies.

What did he say about the Sergei Skripal debacle?

"Indeed, Donald Trump and I have, firstly, met a few times at various worldwide venues", Putin said according to an official transcript available on the Kremlin's website.

One asked why opposition leader Alexei Navalny had not been allowed to register as a candidate in the presidential election, another why there was money for the military but not ordinary people, and another asked whether Russian Federation was a banana republic. "That means we are dealing with something different".

He also added that until Russian Federation is allowed to take part in the investigation and is allowed access to Skripals, it is hard for Moscow to comment on this matter.

As Putin said, "the understanding of the fact that World War III might become the end of the current civilization" should keep the world powers from rash and unsafe actions on the global arena. "We are on track for durable growth in the economy", he said in opening remarks to two moderators introducing questions from the public.

Putin has variously denied Russian meddling and said that "patriotically minded" hackers may have been involved separately from the Russian government.

What about accusations of Russian meddling in the US election? "Complete nonsense", Putin remarked, noting that such a statement can only be regarded as a joke.

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