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Trump congratulatory call to Putin insult to Russian citizens: US senator

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives flowers to Mikhalina Lisova (C), a medal winner at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games during an awarding ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Hawkish US Senator John McCain has lambasted President Donald Trump’s congratulatory call to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, over his landslide victory in the presidential election.

The Arizona Republican released a statement Tuesday after Trump phoned the Russian president over his reelection on Sunday.

The 81-year-old politician described the call as an “insult” to the Russian nation, questioning the latest election’s fairness.

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," McCain said. "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."

The lawmaker who is a fierce opponent of the president’s policy towards Russia has previously stated that Trump is “doing Putin's job for him."

Trump told reporters at the White House earlier on Tuesday that he had talked to Putin and was expecting to meet him soon,

“We had a very good call,” he said. “We will probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.”

His call came not long after the US government imposed new sanctions on Moscow for alleged efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, which yielded President Trump.

The president and some of his closest allies are of interest in the investigation launched to also trace possible collusion with the Kremlin.

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