Putin calls Russia-US contacts 'all invented' in annual press conference

VIDEO: Putin calls Russia collusion made-up spy maniaPlayABCNews.com
WATCH Putin calls Russia collusion 'made-up spy mania'

Russian President Vladimir Putin took a page out of the playbook of President Donald Trump on Thursday by referring to allegations of contact between U.S. and Russian officials during the 2016 election as "all invented."

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Putin spoke to reporters at a marathon press conference on Thursday -- an annual tradition for the Russian leader.

ABC News' Terry Moran asked Putin about the allegations of contact between Trump and the Kremlin during last year's election, a charge currently being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Putin echoed Trump's favorite phrase of "fake news" in dismissing the allegations.

"All of this has been invented, made up by people who are in opposition to President Trump with a view to shedding a negative light on what President Trump is doing " Putin said, translated from Russian, and going on to call it "nonsense."

He accused those suggesting collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign as "not respecting the voters who voted for him."

Trump has used similar language to deny any Russian meddling in the election.

Putin praised the work of Trump in the first year of his presidency, citing the record-high stock market as evidence.

"Objectively, we see some serious achievements accomplished over the short span he is president," Putin said. "Look at the markets, how they’ve grown. This attests to the trust investors show in him on the American economy."

Putin said there "were also things that [Trump] has not yet managed to do that he would like to."

Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign continues, with him interviewing White House communications director, and former campaign aide, Hope Hicks earlier this week. Donald Trump Jr. also appeared on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a nine-hour interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Two Trump associates -- campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Richard Gates -- have been indicted on multiple charges resulting from Mueller's investigation. They have pleaded not guilty. Former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI while in the course of the investigation.

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