Putin: Panama Papers is an American plot to destabilize Russia

Updated 11:30 AM EDT, Thu April 14, 2016
Vladimir Putin drowning Petro Poroshenko Tayyip Erdogan_00000000.jpg
Russia 24
Vladimir Putin drowning Petro Poroshenko Tayyip Erdogan_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:40
Putin responds to drowning question
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he attends a ceremony for Russia's Navy Day in Saint Petersburg on July 30, 2017.
President Vladimir Putin oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia's naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria.  Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country's second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.  / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander Zemlianichenko        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he attends a ceremony for Russia's Navy Day in Saint Petersburg on July 30, 2017. President Vladimir Putin oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia's naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria. Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country's second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander Zemlianichenko (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:38
New TV show gushes over Putin
Fox News Channel
Now playing
02:57
Putin denies Russia interfered in US election
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:40
Putin confirms he wanted Trump to win election
Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin walks out of a voting booth at a polling station during Russia's presidential election in Moscow on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Yuri KADOBNOV        (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin walks out of a voting booth at a polling station during Russia's presidential election in Moscow on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Yuri KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:27
Putin on course to win 4th presidential term
TOPSHOT - Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during a rally to support his candidature in the upcoming presidential election at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on March 3, 2018.
Russians will go to the polls on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV        (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during a rally to support his candidature in the upcoming presidential election at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on March 3, 2018. Russians will go to the polls on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:27
Why Russians support Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his New Year address to Russians in central Moscow on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Alexey NIKOLSKY        (Photo credit should read ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his New Year address to Russians in central Moscow on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Alexey NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:56
Putin maintains grip on power in Russia
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / AFP/Getty Images
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:22
Putin blames Americans for election meddling
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
01:51
The secret behind Vladimir Putin's power
title: --†--∞--∫--µ—Ç--Ω—ã--π --∫--æ--º--ø--ª--µ--∫—Å —Å—Ç—Ä--∞—Ç--µ--≥--∏—á--µ—Å--∫--æ--≥--æ --Ω--∞--∑--Ω--∞—á--µ--Ω--∏—è ¬´--°--∞—Ä--º--∞—Ǭª duration: 00:00:51  VO of big fat heavy missile on truck raised and launched; animation of global trajectory and warhead releasing MIRVs
Russian Defense Ministry
title: --†--∞--∫--µ—Ç--Ω—ã--π --∫--æ--º--ø--ª--µ--∫—Å —Å—Ç—Ä--∞—Ç--µ--≥--∏—á--µ—Å--∫--æ--≥--æ --Ω--∞--∑--Ω--∞—á--µ--Ω--∏—è ¬´--°--∞—Ä--º--∞—Ǭª duration: 00:00:51 VO of big fat heavy missile on truck raised and launched; animation of global trajectory and warhead releasing MIRVs
Now playing
02:25
Target in Putin's nuke video looks like Florida
In this April 27, 2017 photo, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen after unknown attackers doused him with green antiseptic outside a conference venue in Moscow, Russia. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny wrote on Instagram on Tuesday May 9, 2017 that he has undergone eye surgery in Spain and that doctors expect the vision in his right eye to be restored in several months, after being attacked.
Evgeny Feldman/AP
In this April 27, 2017 photo, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen after unknown attackers doused him with green antiseptic outside a conference venue in Moscow, Russia. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny wrote on Instagram on Tuesday May 9, 2017 that he has undergone eye surgery in Spain and that doctors expect the vision in his right eye to be restored in several months, after being attacked.
Now playing
02:42
Putin critic Navalny takes message to YouTube
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister at the 2017 Eastern Economic Forum hosted by the Far Eastern Federal University at Russky Island outside Vladivostok on September 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev        (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister at the 2017 Eastern Economic Forum hosted by the Far Eastern Federal University at Russky Island outside Vladivostok on September 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:05
Putin signs retaliatory media law
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.
World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA        (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:36
Putin thanks Trump for tip on terror attack
NGAN/Getty Images/Zemlianichenko/AP
Now playing
02:49
US-Russia relations after Trump's first year
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Alexander NEMENOV        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Alexander NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:33
Putin praises Trump, slams Russia probe
russia super putin exhibit sebastian pkg_00014521.jpg
russia super putin exhibit sebastian pkg_00014521.jpg
Now playing
02:16
Exhibit portrays Putin as superhero

Story highlights

At a question-and-answer session, he says Russia helped the Syrian army retake Palmyra

The Russian President denies Russian wrongdoing regarding doping in athletics

(CNN) —  

Ever wonder what the fuss over the Panama Papers is all about?

Well, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it’s all part of an American plot to destabilize Russia before elections are held there in September.

That’s what he said Thursday during his annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow.

The Russian President denied any wrongdoing, saying the leaked documents “have not specifically accused anyone of anything. They’ve just said, ‘someone there did something,’ implying officials, including the president.”

And he blamed the United States for the revelations.

Opinion: Panama Papers and America’s problem

“We know that members of the American intelligence community are involved,” Putin said. “The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung is owned by a holding company, and that holding is owned by the American financial company Goldman Sachs. The closer we get to the elections, the more such attacks we will see.”

In a 3½-hour Q and A session, Putin took questions from citizens on a variety of topics.

Whom to save – Erdogan or Poroshenko?

It might not be the most pressing question in international affairs. But it’s interesting to ponder. And out of the mouths of babes come great questions.

A 12-year-old girl asked Putin this: If he saw Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan drowning, which one he would save?

Putin is known to dislike both men. And he dodged the question.

“If someone decided to drown, so it will be impossible to save him,” he replied. “However, we are ready to help everyone if they want it.”

On Obama

The relationship between Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama has been notoriously difficult. But Obama did win plaudits from the Russian strongman for having admitted that his biggest mistake in office was having failed to plan adequately for the aftermath of the toppling of the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya.

“Once again,” Putin said, “this affirms that the current President of the United States is a good man.”

But he’s not really taking sides in American politics. Putin has in the past had kind words for the Republican contender Donald Trump, calling him last December “a very colorful and talented man.”

Doping in athletics

Putin said Russian athletes have done nothing wrong in regard to doping.

Meldonium, a banned performance-enhancing drug, “never belonged in the category of doping,” Putin said. “It does not affect the result; it simply helps the heart keep in good condition under heavy strain. Meldonium was invented in the USSR. The drug is mostly used by Eastern European athletes. (The World Anti-Doping Agency) has adjusted its position, saying it will undergo trials to understand how rapidly meldonium is excreted.”

Russian tennis champion Maria Sharapova was suspended from play by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for the drug at the Australian Open in January.

“We understand that our athletes are in a difficult situation,” Putin said. “WADA is reviewing its approach to the use of the drug, and we are working for a fair decision. The Ministry of Sport is working with good lawyers.”

Travel for Russians to Turkey and Egypt

“It is not dependent on us,” Putin said. “In Egypt, authorities are struggling with radicals. We are working with Egyptian authorities to find a way to screen passengers, baggage and food. At the moment, we have not found the answer.”

“With Turkey, we see a similar picture. The current leadership is not struggling as much with radicals. There is a security problem. … There is use of heavy weapons and terrorist attacks. We have to tell our citizens that Turkey is dangerous. We tell our people to holiday in Crimea, the Caucasus and other countries.”

War and terrorism have strained relations between Russia and the two countries. In October, Metrojet Flight 9268 from Egypt to Russia was downed over Egypt’s Sinai, killing 224 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for bombing the Russian airliner. And in November, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border. Afterward, Putin advised Russians not to visit Turkey, and Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism told travel agents to stop selling tours to the country.

On Russian help for the government of Syria

Putin took credit for the Syrian government’s ability to regain control of Palmyra from ISIS.

“We left the Syrian army in such a state that they are able to carry out offensive operations, and we have seen that after our withdrawal they took back Palmyra,” he said.