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Obama 'not optimistic' about Putin

President Barack Obama says Russian President Vladimir Putin is "improvising himself" into a nationalist, backward-looking approach to Russian policy.

Mr Obama said he is not optimistic that Mr Putin will change his mindset any time soon. He said that Mr Putin's actions are "scaring the heck out of his neighbours" and that Russia is completely isolated internationally.

But Mr Obama added the challenge is that those same actions are politically popular inside Russia.

The US president does not think Mr Putin will change course until the politics in Russia catches up to the damage being done to Russia's economy by Western sanctions.

Mr Obama says he had a very productive relationship with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when he was Russian president, even though Mr Putin was still "the power behind the throne".

Mr Obama spoke at a meeting with leading American CEOs.

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