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Vladimir Putin has hit out at environmentalist campaigner Greta Thunberg, claiming she is being used.
The Russian president took aim at the Swedish teenager after she gave a speech to the UN last week, criticising leaders over their lack of action in fighting climate change.
Speaking at an energy conference in Moscow, Putin said the 16-year-old should go and explain to developing countries why they should continue to live in poverty.
Chairing a session called Energy Partnership for Sustainable Growth, he said: "I may disappoint you but I don't share the common excitement about the speech by Greta Thunberg.
"No one has explained to Greta that the modern world is complex and different and... people in Africa or in many Asian countries want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden.
"Go and explain to developing countries why they should continue living in poverty and not be like Sweden."
Putin went onto state that he believes those who are 'using children' to further their cause should stop because young people shouldn't be involved in such 'extreme situations'.
He added: "But when someone is using children and teenagers in personal interests, it only deserves to be condemned.
"I'm sure that Greta is a kind and very sincere girl. But adults must do everything not to bring teenagers and children into some extreme situations."
Over the past year, Thunberg has become an iconic figure of the fight against climate change, with millions inspired by her weekly protests outside the Swedish parliament a year ago.
This led to her speaking at a UN conference last month in which she said: "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."
Putin isn't the first world leader to slate the young campaigner for her words. Donald Trump mocked her while Canadian Member of Parliament Maxime Bernier claimed she was alarmist and mentally unstable.
But Thunberg hasn't taken the criticism lying down and has said she believes the fact leaders are making light of the situation, adding that politicians poking fun at children showed that her message had become 'too loud to handle'.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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