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Putin seems to be enjoying the Trump impeachment show

Sabra Ayres, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

MOSCOW -- As the impeachment inquiry into President Trump heads into its third week, his outbursts have intensified. He's accused members of Congress of treason. In press conferences, he's interrupted world leaders to engage in heated exchanges with journalists.

And of course, there are the tweets. On Monday he bragged about his "great and unmatched wisdom."

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be enjoying the show.

In Moscow last week, Putin responded with mockery when a reporter from MSNBC asked if the Kremlin planned to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.

"I'll tell you a secret..." he whispered into the microphone as he sat on the stage at an energy conference. "Yes, we will definitely intervene. But don't tell anyone."

The audience roared with laughter. Putin sat back in his chair and smirked.

 

He has good reason to relax.

Russia has been a geopolitical pariah since it annexed Crimea in 2014 -- and its international standing sank more after it was found to have interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

Now the spotlight is now on Russia's nemesis Ukraine, whose newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared to kowtow to Trump in a phone call at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

In the July 25 call, Zelenskiy praised U.S. assistance for political and economic reforms, as well as funding its military in the fight against Russia-backed separatist militias.

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