(Photo: Lavrov and Putin at the 2015 BRICS)
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to be in top form during a news conference in China on Tuesday, answering a question about President Trump by saying the American leader is “not my bride, and I am not his groom.”
While the comment could be interpreted as a subtle jab by a macho Mr. Putin against an equally macho counterpart, the Russian president offered it as an explanation of why he could not comment on domestic American politics.
It came in response to a question about whether the Russian leader takes into account the possibility of Mr. Trump being impeached. Mr. Putin refused to answer, but he did say that Moscow reserved the right to respond to the United States’ having ordered the closing of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and of two other annexes, the latest move in a diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two countries.
Mr. Putin also condemned North Korea’s most recent nuclear tests, but said he doubted sanctions would deter the secretive country’s leaders. “They would rather eat grass than give up their nuclear program,” he said.
Mr. Putin is in Xiamen, China, for a meeting of leaders from the so-called BRICS group, a quintet of nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — once hailed as dynamic and fast-growing, but that have fallen, to varying degrees, on hard times.