MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin has said U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, known for his anti-Kremlin rhetoric, lives in the “Old World” and that Russia and the United States must work together on common challenges.
McCain said last week Putin was a bigger threat to global security than Islamic State, and warned the Senate would push for tougher sanctions against Moscow for its alleged interference in the U.S. election last year.
In an interview with U.S. film director Oliver Stone, excerpts of which were released on Thursday ahead of its broadcast by U.S. TV network Showtime from June 12, Putin praised the senator’s “patriotism”.
“I like Senator McCain to a certain extent. And I’m not joking. I like him because of his patriotism, and I can relate to his consistency in fighting for the interests of his own country,” Putin told Stone in the interview, recorded in February.
But he added: “People with such convictions like the Senator you mentioned, they still live in the Old World. And they’re reluctant to look into the future, they are unwilling to recognize how fast the world is changing.”
He urged the United States to work with Russia on global problems.
“Right now there are common threats we are both facing, like international terrorism. We’ve got to fight poverty across the world,” Putin said.
“After all, we’ve piled up so many nuclear weapons that it has become a threat to the whole world as well. And it would be good for us to give it some thought. There are many issues to address.”
Reporting by Andrew Osborn; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Andrew Roche