Moscow/Washington: US President Donald Trump spoke to Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, hours after the Kremlin said there’d been no call to congratulate the Russian leader on his re-election.
Trump “congratulated Vladimir Putin on his victory in the presidential elections," and the two leaders discussed a possible meeting, the Kremlin said in a statement. “The conversation was constructive and business-like, and focused on overcoming the accumulated problems in Russian-American relations."
The White House said the two leaders had spoken but offered no other details. Earlier Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Trump hadn’t been in touch since Putin won 77% of votes in Sunday’s presidential election. While “we should not consider this an unfriendly step," Peskov said many other world leaders had congratulated Putin and he hinted there was still time for Trump to call, saying “Tomorrow’s another day."
The conversation was announced a day after the White House told reporters there were no plans for Trump to call Putin and that the Russian leader’s re-election was unsurprising. Putin’s victory provoked a mixed response from other leaders. The UK criticized the conduct of the election amid rising tensions after it blamed a nerve-agent attack on Russia, which denies involvement. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel did offer congratulations, French President Emmanuel Macron pointedly wished success “to Russia and the Russian people" in a phone call with Putin, according to an Elysee Palace statement.
Putin received congratulations from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe and the leaders of most former Soviet republics, according to the Kremlin’s website. Reuters