Monday, 19 November, 2018

Trump breaks ranks to congratulate Putin on landslide election victory

EPA-EFE  JIM LO SCALZO EPA-EFE JIM LO SCALZO
Becky Salazar | 21 March, 2018, 08:19

Donald Trump was given stern instructions from his national security team - "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" Vladimir Putin on his recent re-election that came after Russian Federation launched an alleged attack in the United Kingdom that left a former spy dead.

He also said they "will probably get together in the not-too-distant future" to talk about the worldwide arms race and other mutual concerns, such as the war in Syria and North Korea's development of nuclear weapons.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he congratulated Putin on "his electoral victory", adding that he and the Russian president would get together "in the not-too-distant future".

The White House said that in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, Trump and Putin discussed bilateral relations and the need to continue dialogue on key security priorities and challenges.

Putin and Trump agreed on further contacts and "paid particular attention to the question of holding a possible summit", it said in a press release.

"The leaders spoke in favor of developing practical cooperation in different spheres, including on questions of how to ensure strategic stability and fight worldwide terrorism", the Kremlin said in a statement.

The leaders underlined the importance of coordinated efforts on limiting the arms race are in favor of reviving economic cooperation, especially on energy.

Trump's overture to Putin was criticized by top senators in his own Republican party, who called Sunday's election a sham.

The Kremlin also said Trump had congratulated Putin.

Later, at her daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the president's handling of the call. Before the election even began, the impartiality of the results was compromised. And also to discuss Ukraine, and Syria and North Korea, and various other things.

"I wouldn't read much into it", Corker said, the Post reported.

The White House said Monday that it was "not surprised by the outcome" of Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation and that no congratulatory call was planned. "And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election".

The flap comes as Donald Trump continues to fight off allegations that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

Putin has struck a softer tone towards the West since winning his biggest ever election victory, saying he has no desire for an arms race and would do everything he could to resolve differences with other countries.

"As I said before, when it comes to the missiles and the planes and all of the military equipment, there is nobody that even comes close to us in terms of the technology and the quality of the equipment", the president continued. London has blamed Moscow for the attack, a charge Russian Federation denies.

Trump's optimistic attitude regarding a meeting with Putin comes as sanctions were imposed on Russian Federation in retaliation for its efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

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