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Putin’s Q&A discusses living standards, MH17 and dialogue with Trump

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Vladimir Putin states that whilst he’s prepared for dialogue with Donald Trump, the US Presidential election campaign could complicate relations between the two countries. 

The Russian President was trying to get the trust of Russian citizens at the time of his annual TV show. 

Opinion polls recommend that Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are plummeting, with Russian citizens tiring of economic hardship. 

The carefully choreographed “Direct Line” show offers Putin the opportunity to answer questions starting from pensions reform to NATO expansion – all supposedly provided by ordinary Russians. 

“Dialogue is always good, there is always a demand for it,” said Putin responding to a question on whether he would be keeping talks with Trump. 

“Sure, if the American side shows interest towards it, we are ready for dialogue.” 

Previously this month Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse. Ties remain strained by totally from Syria to Ukraine as well as allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics, which Moscow denies. 

Putin also declared that a U.S. military attack on Iran would be a catastrophe for the Middle East that would trigger a surge in violence and a possible refugee exodus. 

He added that Moscow thought Tehran was in full compliance with its nuclear commitments and called sanctions against Iran groundless. 

The show is intended to be mainly an event for Putin to discuss domestic problems. On this, Putin told Russians that there were signs that years of falling real wages, which have dented his popularity, were drawing to an end and that a government programme would provide higher living standards. 

He said low living standards, low wages, poor healthcare and concerns about how rubbish was being removed were now the most acute problems for Russians. 

Following the question-and-answer session, he said that Russia disagreed with the decisions of an international investigation that named three Russians and a Ukrainian this week as suspects in the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine in 2014. 

Putin said the investigation had not shown any evidence that Russia was responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

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