Obama says Putin presiding over economic contraction: CNN interview

Vladmir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

(Reuters) – U.S. president Barack Obama has rejected the charge that he has been outmaneuvered by Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying in a TV interview due for broadcast later on Sunday that Putin was presiding over “a huge economic contraction” due to the Ukraine crisis.

Obama, in an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” program rejected the notion that Putin “is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other.”

The United States and Europe have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia.

“And right now, he’s presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction,” Obama said in the interview, which was recorded on Friday.

“That doesn’t sound like somebody who has rolled me or the United States of America.”

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Greg Mahlich)