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Putin says of Trump: 'He is not my bride'

 (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin added an unforgettable phrase to the annals of U.S.-Russian relations on Tuesday when he was asked if he was disappointed in President Trump.

Dismissing the question from a reporter as naive, he said: "He is not my bride, and I am not his bride or groom."

Like Trump, Putin is known for using plain-spoken, and sometimes startling, language. But the marital image was certainly one of the stranger comments to emerge in the wake of one of the tensest diplomatic standoffs between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.

The Russian leader was speaking to reporters in China, where he is attending the last day of the BRICS summit.

The comment comes after the United States ordered the Russian diplomatic mission to close its San Francisco consulate on Saturday, the latest step in the tit for tat between America and Russia that has led to consulate closures and staff reductions. Putin in July demanded that the American diplomatic mission in Russia reduce its staff from approximately 1,200 to 455, the same number of Russian diplomatic staff in the U.S.

The demand was made after Congress passed another round of sanctions against Russia, which hit the energy sector particularly hard. In January, President Obama ordered 35 Russian intelligence officers to leave the United States and seized two Russian diplomatic compounds in retaliation for accusations that the Kremlin tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Putin’s comment reflects a significant change in the Kremlin’s initial positive tone after Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Many in Russia’s political elite, and indeed in the country, embraced Trump’s election as an opportunity for an improvement in relations between the two countries. 

Trump's decisions are "guided by the national interests of his country, as I am [guided] by my own," Putin said.

Putin said the seizure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco was “unprecedented” and said he planned to instruct the Foreign Ministry to take the matter to an American court.

"The American side has deprived the Russian Federation of the right to use our property; this is a clear violation of the property rights of the Russian side," Putin told reporters in China, the Russian news agency Tass reported.  

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