Putin Says He Has ‘Zero Personal Relationship’ With Trump

Evan Vucci/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t have a personal relationship with President Donald Trump and that he’s unhappy with the way Trump has handled the nuclear standoff in North Korea.

“We have zero personal relationship. We’ve met only once,” Putin said Wednesday at an Energy Week conference in Moscow, according to Bloomberg.

Putin called Trump a strong leader who would “never be anybody’s hostage,” but said the relationship between the two countries has been in turmoil because of political divisions in the U.S.

He said that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un need to “lower the rhetoric,” adding that threats from both sides could lead to “a very danger dead end,” according to Bloomberg.

He said he knew that Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, had an atomic bomb in 2000 and nearly two decades of pressuring the country to stand down hasn’t worked.

“Those who try to speak to North Korea from a position of strength only shore up the North Korean regime,” he said, adding that he’s made that point to Trump in the past. “It’s his first presidential term, he’s still building up experience on that. But I think he took the arguments on board, he heard them.”