Donald Trump said Saturday he believes Vladimir Putin is being sincere when he denies meddling in the election that propelled the US president to power, adding that the Russian leader felt “very insulted” by the allegations.

Trump, whose key former aides are under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin, said he repeatedly asked Putin about the claims during their chats at the APEC summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

“He (Putin) said he didn t meddle. I asked him again,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Hanoi for a state visit.

“You can only ask so many times… He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” Trump said, adding he felt Putin seemed “very insulted” by the persistent accusations which was “not a good thing for our country”.

“I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” added Trump, who is marking one year since his shock election victory.

In May, US intelligence chiefs told Congress that they agreed with their analysts conclusion that Russia had meddled in the election.