Russian President Vladimir Putin dismisses claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, says Russia would react negatively to the expansion of NATO, and blames terrorists for civilian casualties in Syria in an interview with FOX News Channel's Chris Wallace.
A particularly tense moment comes when the FOX news host asked the Russian president about several mysterious deaths of his political enemies.
WALLACE: You say nothing happened to you, but I need to ask you, domestically -- not internationally, domestically, inside Russia -- why is it that so many of the people that oppose Vladimir Putin end up dead or close to it? Former Russian spy and double-agent Sergei Skripal, the victim of a nerve agent attack in England. Boris Nemtsov, a political opponent, gunned down near the Kremlin. Investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, murdered in an apartment building. Why is it that so many people who were political enemies of Vladimir Putin are attacked?
PUTIN: Well, first of all, all of us have plenty of political rivals. I'm pretty sure President Trump has plenty of political rivals.
WALLACE: But they don't end up dead.
PUTIN: Well, not always -- well, haven't Presidents been killed in the United States? Have you forgotten about -- well, has Kennedy been killed in Russia or in the United States? Or Mr. King? What -- and what happens to the clashes between police and, well, civil society, and some -- several ethnic groups? Well, that's something that happens on the U.S. soil. All of us have our own set of domestic problems.
But going back to what happened in Russia, yes. We do have crime and we unfortunately -- there are some crimes. And to some extent, Russia's statehood is maturing. And there are some side effects. And we persecute people responsible for these crimes. But since you've mentioned the Skripal case, we would like to get at least some sort of a document, evidence about it. But nobody gives it to us. It's the same thing as the accusations with meddling into the election process in America. We recently heard that two more people suffered from the same nerve agent that is called Novichok. I have never even heard the last names of these persons. Who are they? What --
WALLACE: Supposedly they picked up the bottle that was used to attack Skripal. I -- can -- may I ask you one last question, sir?
PUTIN: Well, no. Let us seal this issue first. What kind of package? What kind of bottle? What's the chemical formula? Who got it? Or maybe there are other reasons -- reasons of death. Well, maybe it's the internal reasons within the United Kingdom, but nobody wants to look into the issue. No, we just see the ungrounded accusations. Why is it done this way? Why our relationship should be made worse by this pretense? We have to build them with the U.K. as well.