Russia’s president has accused opponents of his US counterpart Donald Trump of harming the US by “inventing stories” about contacts with Russia.
At his annual news conference, Vladimir Putin said contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials before last year’s election were normal.
He said the US opposition were not treating those who elected Mr Trump with respect.
The Trump campaign is being investigated for collusion with Russia.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow tried to sway the presidential election in favour of Mr Trump, but Mr Putin denies the allegations.
“It’s all invented by those in opposition to Trump to make his work seem illegitimate,” Mr Putin said, when asked about the investigation.
He added that Mr Trump was responsible for some “quite serious achievements” but had not been in a position to improve relations with Russia.
He expressed hope that this would happen, adding that globally “there are many things we can do more effectively”.