Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday scoffed at allegations of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, saying they have been “invented” by Trump’s foes and have hurt the U.S. political system.
He also mocked his critic, Alexei Navalny, who is barred from challenging Putin in the March 18 vote by an embezzlement conviction, saying those like him want to plunge Russia into a destabilized quagmire. He vowed not to let that happen.
Speaking at his annual marathon news conference, Putin reaffirmed his firm denial of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“All of it was invented by people who oppose President Trump to undermine his legitimacy,” he said. “I’m puzzled by that. People who do it are inflicting damage to the domestic political situation, incapacitating the president and showing a lack of respect to voters who