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Trump Calls Putin To Thank Him For Praising 'Strong US Economy'


US President Donald Trump, who is accused of colliding with Russia in the presidential election campaign, has expressed gratitude to his Russian counterpart for "acknowledging America's strong economic performance."

Remarks by President Vladimir Putin in his annual press conference Thursday reflected a rare show of sympathy and support to the Trump administration.

Alleged Russian interference in the US election "has been invented, made up by people who are in opposition to President Trump," he told reporters in the lengthy media conference.

Contacts between the Trump campaign team and Russian officials in the run-up to last year's election were normal, according to Putin. Putin also noted that he calls Trump by his first name when they talk and that Trump calls him Vladimir.

He also praised Trump for "some quite serious achievements" he made in a short period of time since becoming President. "Look at the markets, how they've risen. That shows investors' confidence in the American economy. It shows they believe in what President Trump is doing in this area."

He said the US opposition was not treating those who elected the billionaire-turned-politician with respect.

A White House statement issued after the news conference said Trump spoke with Putin Thursday. "President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America's strong economic performance in his annual press conference".

"The two presidents also discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea", the statement added.

The mutually recognizing gesture from leaders of the two major powers comes at a time US Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties to Trump's campaign has cast a shadow over bilateral relations.

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