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Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 

Trump 'warned' not to congratulate Putin in Russia election

Trump

Washington, 21 March 2018 (MIA) - US President Donald Trump did not adhere to warnings from his advisers when he congratulated Vladimir Putin on his re-election, US media report.

A note to the president for his phone call with his Russian counterpart reportedly read: "DO NOT CONGRATULATE", the BBC says.

Putin's controversial win came as his opponent was barred from the ballot, and some world leaders have been hesitant to congratulate him.

Trump described the conversation with the Kremlin as a "very good call".

US Republican Senator John McCain criticised Trump over the call.

"An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin's regime," McCain said in a statement.

Trump's decision to ignore his aides' recommendations to avoid congratulating Putin was first reported by the Washington Post newspaper.

The US recently imposed sanctions on a group of Russians over alleged interference in the US presidential election in 2016.

The Kremlin said the conversation between the US and Russian presidents was "constructive and business-like", adding that Russia hoped to "overcome problems" that had arisen between the two nations.

Putin was re-elected by a landslide, with more than 76% of the vote, for a fourth six-year term.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first Western leaders to "warmly congratulate" Putin on Monday - a day after his re-election - stressing the need to continue dialogue "to address important bilateral and international challenges and find viable solutions".

French President Emmanuel Macron wished Putin success in "modernising Russia", but urged Moscow to shed light on the "unacceptable" attempted assassination of an ex-spy in Britain. lk/18:15

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