Putin compares the suspicious deaths of his political opponents to the assassinations of US presidents

Russian President Vladimir Putin fended off questions on a string of deaths that are suspected to have been orchestrated by the Kremlin, during an interview on Fox News on Monday.

In the interview, Putin was asked why political dissidents and journalists, both domestic and abroad, were being jailed or found dead under suspicious circumstances.

In a high profile case in March, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a deadly nerve agent in the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "highly likely" that the attack originated from Russian agents.

"I need to ask you, domestically — not internationally, domestically, inside Russia — why is it that so many of the people that oppose Vladimir Putin end up dead or close to it?," Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace asked. "Why is it that so many people who were political enemies of Vladimir Putin are attacked?"

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Putin critic Nikolai Glushkov mysteriously murdered
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Putin critic Nikolai Glushkov mysteriously murdered
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 19. Former first deputy director general of Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, Nikolai Glushkov (in pic), who was arrested on December 7 on the charge of major group fraud, seen on his way to the trial. After hearings Moscow's Lefortovo municipal court found valid the arrest of the former director, one of the main figures of the Aeroflot case, and didn't change its sanctions. Glushkov's keeping in custody is to be continued. (Photo by Nikolai Glushkov / ITAR-TASS via Getty Images)
Police stand on duty outside the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London Britain, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police vehicles and officers guard the home of Nikolai Glushkov while his corpse is removed, in New Malden, Britain March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A man carries equipment as he arrives outside the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London, Britain, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Forensics investigators work at the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London, Britain, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Police forensics officers erect a tarpaulin sheet over the rear of the home of Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov who was found dead at his home in New Molden on March 14, 2018 in London, England. Metropolitan police have said the counter-terrorism command unit was leading the investigation into the man's death, the cause of which is not yet clear. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Two police forensics officers prepare to enter a police tent outside the home of Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov who was found dead at his home in New Molden on March 14, 2018 in London, England. Metropolitan police have said the counter-terrorism command unit was leading the investigation into the man's death, the cause of which is not yet clear. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Police forensics officers carry a shovel and other gardening tools into a forensics tent outside the home of Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov who was found dead at his home in New Malden on March 14, 2018 in London, England. Metropolitan police have said the counter-terrorism command unit was leading the investigation into the man's death, the cause of which is not yet clear. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A forensics investigators climbs over the back garden fence of the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London, Britain, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Forensics investigators work at the home of Nikolai Glushkov in New Malden, on the outskirts of London, Britain, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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Putin suggested that "rivals" were not unique to him.

"Well, first of all, all of us have plenty of political rivals," Putin said. "I'm pretty sure President Trump has plenty of political rivals."

Wallace challenged Putin's assertion: "But they don't end up dead."

Putin, who was recently reelected to a third six-year term in what critics described as a "sham election," responded to Wallace by likening these suspicious deaths to the assassinations of US presidents and civil rights leaders.

"Well, not always — well, haven't presidents been killed in the United States?," Putin asked. "Have you forgotten about — well, has Kennedy been killed in Russia or in the United States? Or Mr. King?"

"What — and what happens to the clashes between police and, well, civil society, and some — several ethnic groups? Well, that's something that happens on the US soil. All of us have our own set of domestic problems."

Putin alluded to the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991 and admitted there would be "some side effects" while Russia was "maturing." But the president denied his government sanctioned Skripal's poisoning and became combative, likening it to  accusations of Russia's interference actions from the US intelligence community.

"We would like to get at least some sort of a document, evidence about it," Putin said. "It's the same thing as the accusations with meddling into the election process in America."

"Maybe there are other reasons — reasons of death," Putin added. "Well, maybe it's the internal reasons within the United Kingdom, but nobody wants to look into the issue. No, we just see the ungrounded accusations."

Russia's constant denials, whether it be in regards to its involvement in Syria's civil war or its meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, have become relatively predictable and has stoked bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill.

That anger was further fueled after Trump refused to back the US intelligence community's assessment on Russia, and instead, railed against the FBI and his political opponents during his summit with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16, 2018: The national flags of Russia and the United States seen ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'KREMLIN PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and his wife Jenni Haukio pose for a photo during their meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin react at the end of the joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and First lady Melania Trump pose for a picture with a football during a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US First Lady Melania Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump (L-R) after a news conference at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump holds a football thrown to her by U.S. President Donald Trump during his joint news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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The meeting was held just three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian intelligence officers who are suspected of interfering in the US presidential election.

Following Trump's remarks at the press conference, several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, criticized what they believed was "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."

SEE ALSO: Putin laughs and waves aside Mueller's indictment of Russian intelligence officers during Fox News interview

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