MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg may have been manipulated to serve the interests of others.

Speaking at an energy forum in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said: “I don’t share exultation about Greta Thunberg.”

The Russian leader called Thunberg a “kind and sincere girl” who doesn’t understand complex global issues such as the barriers to cleaner energy in developing countries.

Putin added, “It’s deplorable when someone is using children and teenagers in their interests.” He didn’t elaborate.

Thunberg inspired other students by skipping school for weekly climate change protests. At a United Nations climate summit last month, she rebuked world leaders for not doing enough and asked them, "How dare you?”

Putin says Russia has fulfilled its obligations under an international agreement to tackle global warming.