Putin on US administration: 'It’s difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia'

'Americans are a great people if they can endure so many people with such a low level of political culture,' Russian president says

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 06 September 2017 08:46 BST
Vladimir Putin insults American politicians and distances himself from Trump

Vladimir Putin has mocked the state of US politics by joking that it is "difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia".

"There is nothing to do about it. Apparently that’s the level of political culture of a certain part of the American establishment," the Russian President said, according to state funded broadcaster, RT.

He added: "America is really a great nation and the Americans are a great people if they can endure so many people with such a low level of political culture."

Mr Putin was referring to a 2007 gaffe by former US President George W Bush, when he thanked then-Australian leader John Howard for visiting Austrian troops in Iraq.

Mr Bush also mixed up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) during a speech to business leaders in Sydney.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr Putin refrained from making any criticism of current President Donald Trump. He dismissed a question about whether Mr Trump was "naive."

Instead he said Mr Trump was "not my bride, and I'm not his groom."

Asked how Russia would feel if Mr Trump were impeached, Putin said it would be "absolutely wrong" for Russia to discuss domestic US politics.

Russian officials cheered Mr Trump when he was elected last year, and Mr Putin praised him as someone who wanted to improve ties with his country.

However, further US sanctions on Russia and the US decision to close the Russian consulate in San Francisco have raised concerns that the two countries remain far apart.

Additional reporting from agencies

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