https://apnews.com-By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the Kremlin has “constructive” relations with Washington and voiced hope that mutual interests would eventually help normalize U.S.-Russia ties.
Putin, speaking during a panel discussion at an international energy conference in Moscow, also said that Russia stands ready to boost natural gas supplies to help assuage nervous energy markets in Europe, insisting that his country wants prices to remain stable.
He rejected the allegations from some European experts and politicians that Russia has been holding up gas deliveries and causing energy prices to spike. The Russian leader also rebuffed criticism of an ongoing domestic crackdown on dissent and independent media.
Putin strongly defended a Russian law requiring those who receive foreign funds and engage in unspecified political activities to register as “foreign agents,” describing it as a quid pro quo response to a U.S. law that has been used to target Russian media organizations in the United States.
Critics say the Russian law has been used to muzzle critical media outlets since the “foreign agent” stigma has strong pejorative connotations and implies closer government scrutiny.