Putin and Trump will Meet Tomorrow

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Putin has not said whether he will contest the March election but few analysts say they believe he will pass up the chance to extend his Kremlin term to 2024.

Putin spoke ahead of a trip to Vietnam, where he will take part in an APEC summit and is expected to meet US President Donald Trump.

The relationship that has been tense since Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has worsened with the scandal around alleged Russian interference in last year's election, is now "faltering, in a crisis state", Ushakov said. In all, six Russian skiers have been found guilty by an International Olympics Committee commission.

The U.S. government and its European partners immediately imposed sanctions on Russian officials considered to be involved in Ukraine.

An investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into any links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would only discuss the neighboring country "if time allows", to which White House spokesman John Earnest replied with "There will be time".

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"In response to our imaginary interference in their election, [the US] wants to create problems in the Russian presidential election", he added.

"Here is what worries me: the Olympics start in February, and when are our presidential elections? This is a violation of all human rights", Petukhov said.

Russia's reputation as an Olympic power was sundered in 2016 when a report into systematic doping described a vast "institutional conspiracy" that included more than 1,000 athletes in more than 30 sports, and tainted the drug-testing system at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics.

Fellow cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov had lifetime Olympic bans confirmed by the IOC earlier this month.

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