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Trump insists he doesn't know Putin - or have any deals in Russia

The President of the United States made the comments on Twitter – where else? – today.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has moved to distance himself from Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying that he doesn’t know him.

In a tweet today, he also said that he doesn’t have any deals with Russia:

Throughout the election campaign, Trump refused to criticise the Russian leader, saying better relations with the Kremlin would be in the US national interest.

At the weekend, Trump drew fire from Republicans and Democrats after defending a softer stance on Russia, saying:

“I do respect [Putin]. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them.”

He made the comments to Fox News during a Super Bowl interview on Sunday night.

Mainstream Republicans have repeatedly called on Trump to distance himself from Putin. But this is the first public step he’s made in saying that he doesn’t have personal links to the Russian leader.

Trump has also commented on the US working with Russia in fighting Islamic State, telling Fox:

If Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all around the world, major fight. That’s a good thing.

Last December, US intelligence agencies said that they believed Russia conducted a hacking campaign during the US election, aiming to swing it in Trump’s favour by releasing certain documents.

The question of Trump and Putin’s relationship has been a big one in the past few months, with Trump’s criticism of NATO and comments on Ukraine also leading people to think there are positive links against them.

But with his latest tweet, Trump appears to be concerned that people might think the two men are close on a personal basis.

- Additional reporting - © AFP, 2017

Read: Trump draws criticism as he repeats respect for ‘killer’ Putin>

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