Russia's president Vladimir Putin has hit back at allegations he stole a diamond-encrusted Super Bowl ring from the billionaire owner of an American football team.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, claims Mr Putin pocketed his $26,000 ring during a visit to St Petersburg back in 2005.

He has kept quiet about the incident for the past eight years, but broke his silence during a gala in New York at the weekend.

He says he meant to only show Mr Putin the ring, but the president pocketed it.

"He put it on and he goes, 'I can kill someone with this ring!'" Mr Kraft said.

"I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket. And three KGB guys got around him and walked out."

The ring, which is encrusted with 124 diamonds that spell out the words 'World Champions', has turned up on display at the Kremlin Library.

But Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Mr Putin, insists it was a gift.

"What Mr Kraft is saying now is weird. I was standing 20 centimetres away from them, and I saw Mr Kraft give this ring as a gift," he said in a statement.

"If the gentleman is really experiencing such excruciating pain from his loss, the president is ready to send him any other ring he can buy for that kind of money."

Mr Peskov has also suggested Mr Kraft should see a psychoanalyst.

"These words about how someone put pressure on him and so forth - I think this is an issue for a detailed discussion with psychoanalysts," he said.

Mr Kraft says he tried to get the ring back in 2005, but was advised by the White House that it would be in the best interest of American-Russian relations if he dropped the matter.

His spokeswoman Stacey James says while Mr Kraft still has emotional ties to the ring, he is happy for it to remain in Moscow.

"It's a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert retells for laughs," she said.

"He loves that his ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of president Putin."


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