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    Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Putin Slams US Presidential Candidates for Playing Russian Card

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin accused US presidential candidates on Saturday of playing the Russia card in the US election campaign to manipulate voters.

    BISHKEK (Sputnik) — Speaking ahead of his departure from the Bishkek airport in Kyrgyzstan, Putin said that the US candidates were trying to "recreate the image of the so-called empire of evil and use it for striking fear into voters."

    "As for using [the image of] Russia and its president in the US presidential campaign, I’d hope that the reason for this is Russia’s growing importance and influence, but I think that it is mainly about manipulating the public opinion inside the country," Putin said.

    Putin added it was "very sad" that they were using such techniques, which were also "counterproductive."

    Moreover, Vladimir Putin refused to reveal his preference for any of the candidates running for president in the United States and said Russia would support any person in any country who was willing to have friendly relations with Moscow.

    "I have already spoken many times about supporting [candidates], and have nothing new to say… The only thing that I would like to say is that we would support any person in any country willing to build neighborly and partnership relations with us," Putin told reporters on Saturday.

    "And of course, we are following closely what is happening in the United States, and we sympathize with anyone who is publicly calling for relations with Russia on an equal footing and sees that it is important both for their country and for the international community on the whole," Putin added.

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    "Russian card", elections, Vladimir Putin, United States, Russia
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