Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that the protests against racism in the US in his first comments on the situation were a sign of deep crises in the country.
"What happened is a sign of deep-seated internal crises," Putin said in an interview with Rossiya 1 television, asking to comment on events in the United States in the past few days.
Linking the riots to the coronavirus pandemic, he said, "It shows that there are problems. Things related to the fight against the coronavirus have focused on common problems."
The Russian television station has published an excerpt from the interview, which is to be broadcast on Sunday evening and is considered Putin's first interview since the pandemic began.
He compared the virus situation in the United States and Russia and said that "we are constantly leaving the coronavirus situation with minimal losses, God willing, this is not the case in the United States."
Russia confirmed 8,835 new virus cases on Sunday, making it the third highest in the world, at 5,28,964, while the United States had by far the largest number of cases, at 2.07 million.
Putin criticized a lack of strong leadership on the virus situation in the US, saying that "the president says we have to do this and that, but the governor is telling him somewhere to go."
"I think the problem is that group interests, party interests are more important than the interests of society as a whole and the interests of people."
In Russia, "I doubt anyone in the government or in the regions would say we won't do what the government says, what the president says, we think it's wrong," Putin said of the virus strategy.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)