Putin's Q&A discusses living standards, MH17 and a dialogue with Trump

Putin's Q&A discusses living standards, MH17 and a dialogue with Trump
By Katy Dartford with reuters
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During a four hour TV appearance, the Russian President said that the government would deliver higher living standards and reminded voters that they were better off now than in the 1990s. He also spoke about its relations with the US and Washington's growing tensions with Iran.


Vladimir Putin says that whilst he's ready for dialogue with Donald Trump, the US Presidential election campaign could complicate relations between the two countries.

The Russian President was attempting to win the trust of Russian citizens during his annual TV show.

Opinion polls suggest that Vladimir Putin's approval ratings are plummeting, with Russian citizens tiring of economic hardship.

The carefully choreographed "Direct Line" show gives Putin the chance to answer questions ranging from pensions reform to NATO expansion - all supposedly submitted by ordinary Russians.

"Dialogue is always good, there is always a demand for it," said Putin answering a question on whether he would be holding talks with Trump.

"Sure, if the American side shows interest towards it, we are ready for dialogue."

Earlier this month Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse. Ties remain strained by everything from Syria to Ukraine as well as allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics, which Moscow denies.

Putin also said that a U.S. military attack on Iran would be a catastrophe for the Middle East that would trigger a surge in violence and a possible refugee exodus.

He added that Moscow believed Tehran was in full compliance with its nuclear commitments and called sanctions against Iran groundless.

The show is meant to be mainly an occasion for Putin to discuss domestic issues. On this, Putin told Russians that there were signs that years of falling real wages, which have dented his popularity, were drawing to an end and that a government programme would deliver higher living standards.

He said low living standards, low wages, poor healthcare and worries about how rubbish was being disposed of were now the most acute problems for Russians.

Following the question-and-answer session, he said that Russia disagreed with the conclusions of an international investigation that named three Russians and a Ukrainian this week as suspects in the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine in 2014.

Putin said the investigation had not presented any proof that Russia was responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

WATCH: Galina Polonskaya reports on the 4-hour Q&A show in the player above

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