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Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Federal

Vladimir Putin: Donald Trump impeachment far-fetched

Comments at Putin’s annual press conference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the U.S. impeachment process “far-fetched” Thursday, making a seemingly obvious prediction that Donald Trump will be acquitted in the Senate.

Putin said Thursday at his annual news conference in Moscow that the move is a continuation of the Democrats’ fight against Trump.

“The party that lost the [2016] election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means,” Putin said.

He likened Trump’s impeachment to the earlier U.S. probe into collusion with Russia, which Putin downplayed as being groundless.

Putin noted that the impeachment motion “is yet to pass the Senate where the Republicans have a majority.” He added that “they will be unlikely to remove a representative of their own party from office on what seems to me an absolutely far-fetched reason.”

Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The historic vote split along party lines Wednesday night in the U.S., much the way it has divided the nation, over a charge that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation. The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial.

The Russian economy had suffered a double blow of a drop in global oil prices and Western sanctions that followed Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. It has seen a slow recovery since 2017 after a two-year stagnation.

Russia’s ties with the West have remained at post-Cold War lows, but Putin argued that Russia has recovered and become more resilient to shocks from Western penalties and fluctuations in global energy prices.

Putin voiced hope for further moves to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine following his talks in Paris on Dec. 9 with the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany.

He said that the 2015 peace agreement signed in Minsk and brokered by France and Germany must be observed, rejecting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s push for revising it.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine that flared up in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea has killed more than 14,000 and ravaged Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.

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