Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump's impeachment a “continuation of domestic political infighting" as he spoke with reporters at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.
Asked about the vote during his marathon press conference, Putin said he didn't think that Trump's presidency was over, noting that the trial still has to go through the Senate where Republicans have a majority.
“I doubt they will want to expel from power their party representative based on what I think are absolutely made-up reasons,” he said.
The Democrats, "who lost the election," were working to achieve their goals "by other means, accusing Trump of Russian collusion," he said. "It then turned out that there was no collusion and it could not form the basis for an impeachment, and now there is this made-up pressure on Ukraine."
"But your congressmen know better,” he added sarcastically.
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Democrats, meanwhile, have said there was ample evidence that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter while withholding almost $400 million in aid, and that he had obstructed Congress by refusing to release any documents related to his actions.
Putin also responded to news that U.S. officials had voted to place strict sanctions on Russia, saying his country would “mirror” the moves.
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced legislation described by one sponsor as the sanctions bill "from hell."
The Russian leader added that Moscow was ready to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, with the U.S.
The agreement limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the world's two biggest nuclear powers can deploy.
“We are happy to prolong the current agreement till the end of the year,” Putin said, but added that so far, they haven't received any response from the U.S.
“If there is no SNV III,” Putin said, referring to the Russian name for the treaty, “there is nothing in the world that will contain the nuclear arms race. And that's very bad in my opinion.”
Putin called the decision “unfair” and “unlawful," adding that the decision was politically motivated.
During the marathon press conference that lasted nearly four-and-a-half hours, the Russian leader addressed a myriad of other topics including health care, inflation, pension reform and internet freedom, as well as Russia's relations with Belarus, Turkey, China and the European Union.
He also touched on his own political legacy and international image.
"I know what is in my country's interest and whatever is said about me means nothing in comparison to achieving the fundamental goals needed for Russia," he said.