Russians respect the American people and would like relations with the United States to return back to normal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual televised question-and-answer session on Thursday answering a question received via a video linkup from a US citizen.

Putin thanked the American who sent him a question for his good attitude towards Russia. “We know that we have a lot of friends in the United States, a great many,” the Russian president said. “I was told about this by our American counterparts, and opinion polls conducted a month ago show that we have a lot of friends there.”

“True, such hysteria in the media is sure to affect people’s sentiment,” the Russian leader added. “However, I assure you that there are quite a few people in Russia too who have great respect for the American people’s achievements and hope that our relations will eventually return back to normal, and we are very interested in that, both the United States and we,” he emphasized.

Putin added that the growing Russophobia in the United States is “primarily the result of the internal political strife gaining momentum there.” “We do not consider America our enemy,” Putin stressed. “Moreover, on two occasions in our history, when things were especially tough for us, we pooled our efforts during two world wars and were allies,” he said.

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