VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted Tuesday that the criminal cases against former U.S. President Donald Trump are political revenge that show the fundamental corruption of the United States.
"As for the prosecution of Trump, for us what is happening in today's conditions, in my opinion, is good because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others democracy," Putin said at an Eastern Economic Forum gathering in Russia's Pacific Coast city of Vladivostok.
“Everything that is happening with Trump is the persecution of a political rival for political reasons. That’s what it is. And this is being done in front of the public of the United States and the whole world," he said.
Opinion polls indicate that Trump is by far the strongest contender to become the Republican Party's candidate in the 2024 presidential election. During his four years in the White House, Trump repeatedly touted having good relations with Putin, while critics alleged he was submissive to the Russian leader.
Trump has claimed he could resolve the conflict in Ukraine in a matter of days, if he regains the presidency. He has not provided details of his potential approach.
“We hear that Mr. Trump says that he will solve pressing problems in a few days, including the Ukrainian crisis. Well, this cannot but bring happiness. This is good,” Putin said.
However, the Russian leader said his country's poor relations with the United States were unlikely to change significantly regardless of who becomes president.
“What to expect from the future, no matter who the president is, it's hard for us to say, but it’s unlikely that anything will change radically,” Putin said. He claimed the Biden administration has instilled a strong bias against Russia and ”it will be very difficult for them to somehow turn this whole ship” in the other direction.
Russia also is due to have a presidential election in 2024. Putin hedged Tuesday when asked if he would seek another term after being in power, as president or prime minister, since 2000.
“We will talk about it” after the Russian parliament sets an election date, he said.
Jim Heintz in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.