Putin pushes for end to 'harmful' sanctions during Austria visit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a live nationwide broadcast call-in in Moscow, Russia June 7, 2018.

Responding to a question about the alleged attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Putin stated that he doubts they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, and expressed hope that the United Kingdom would allow Russian Federation access to the Skripals and to take part in the investigation. It's because Russian Federation is regarded as a threat, because they perceive Russian Federation as a rival.

Putin also said the government will be looking to streamline the tax system in order to fight poverty, but denied speculation that Russian Federation was considering abandoning its flat-rate income tax.

The 65-year-old politician used the event last year to pledge to eradicate spiraling poverty, fielding nearly 70 questions in just under four hours in an event that Kremlin watchers often liken to a tsar listening to his petitioners.

Speaking to Austria's ORF channel ahead of a visit to Vienna on Wednesday, Mr Putin said he "fully agreed" with the US President on the possibility that a new arms race between the countries could break out, and hoped the two leaders could work together to prevent it.

Putin, who is at the start of a new six-year term in office, always fields a smattering of foreign policy questions which he typically uses to lash out at the West with whom Moscow's relations are at a post Cold War low. I think this is the main reason, ' he said.

Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPO) has called for sanctions against Russian Federation to be lifted, but the conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his party, which control Austria's European Union policy, have said Austria will toe the European Union line. "Well, here it's Mr. Prigozhin's private business". The United Kingdom and its allies have accused Moscow of having orchestrated the attack with what UK experts claim was the A234 nerve agent, albeit without presenting any proof.

CALL ME DONALD: 'In a recent telephone conversation, Donald said he was anxious about the possibility of a new arms race.

During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin will hold small- and large-scale talks, meet the press together, attend signing ceremonies and welcome banquets, and exchange views on bilateral relations, cooperation in key areas, and other global and regional issues of common concern, said Hua.

China-Russia trade has grown to $US87 billion ($A113 billion) in the past year, Putin said.

Austria's OMV is now among European companies involved in the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany, skirting transit countries such as Ukraine - a project opposed by the USA and some other EU members.

The president added that cryptocurrency mining is now not regulated by Russian legislation, and that most countries don't use cryptocurrencies as means of payment.