Russian President Vladimir Putin has today queried what he described as the growing clout of US social media giants, saying their influence meant they now competed with governments. 

Addressing a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Putin cited the behaviour of the social media giants in recent events in US politics.

He questioned whether what he called their monopoly position coincided with society's interests.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin also said today that the global Covid-19 pandemic could drag on unless millions of people receive protection from the virus.

He also called today for greater dialogue between Russia and the European Union and a more positive agenda to try to improve strained relations that he said had prompted a fall in trade. 

Putin's comments come as Russia's ties with the West are under new pressure over the treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.