Russian President Vladimir Putin described former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of conversations with President Donald Trump as “weird” and ironically offered him asylum in Russia. Speaking Thursday in live call-in show, Putin compared Comey’s move to that of NSA contractor Edward Snowden, adding on a sarcastic note that Russia could grant Comey political asylum.…
Speaking Thursday in live call-in show, Putin compared Comey’s move to that of NSA contractor Edward Snowden, adding on a sarcastic note that Russia could grant Comey political asylum. Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013 when it gave him asylum, resisting U.S. pressure to extradite him.
Putin also voiced hope for normalizing Russia-U.S. ties during the call. The Russian leader said Moscow and Washington could cooperate in efforts to prevent the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, including the North Korean nuclear and missile problem.
He said the two countries could also cooperate in dealing with global poverty and efforts to prevent climate change, and also noted that Moscow hopes that the U.S. could play a “constructive role” in helping settle the Ukrainian crisis.
Putin again denied meddling in the U.S. election, saying that Russia has openly expressed its views and hasn’t engaged in any covert activities. He described the allegations as a reflection of “exacerbating political infighting.”
The Russian president said on the call that his country will pour resources into the development of its vast Arctic region for both economic and military reasons. He added that a military presence in the Arctic region is also essential for ensuring Russia’s security.
The Kremlin has highlighted reaffirming the Russian presence in the Arctic as a top priority amid an intensifying rivalry over the region that is believed to hold up to one-quarter of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas.
Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic as shrinking polar ice creates new opportunities for exploration.