Putin Derides Sanctions and Trump Investigations as ‘Boorishness’

Since then, Moscow’s hopes of a swift warming of ties under Mr. Trump have evaporated amid investigations in Washington into whether Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia before the election.

Echoing Mr. Trump’s own repeated assertion that the Russia investigations were “fake news” ginned up by crestfallen Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Mr. Putin said he did not consider the various inquiries in Washington as investigations “because an investigation envisages full clarification of all circumstances, studying and hearing various parties.” He added, “We see just an increase in anti-Russia hysteria.”

He derided efforts to clarify any links between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign staff and Moscow as “just the use of Russophobic tools in an internal political struggle, in this case the struggle between President Trump and his political opponents.”

Yet, with Russian legislators already clamoring for “painful” measures against the United States in retaliation for the new American sanctions, Mr. Putin seemed eager to slow momentum toward a tit-for-tat diplomatic ruckus that would leave relations even more strained than they were under Mr. Obama.

In December Mr. Putin, hoping for rapprochement under Mr. Trump, declined to respond to Mr. Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomatic staff members and the seizure of Russian diplomatic property. Mr. Obama said such measures were to punish Moscow for its interference in last year’s presidential election.

Mr. Putin said on Thursday that Russia had so far been “restrained and patient” in response to what he said were constant provocations by the United States. But he indicated this would not continue indefinitely. “At a certain moment we will have to respond,” he said. “It is impossible to put up forever with this boorishness toward our country.”

Mr. Putin visited Finland to help mark the…

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