Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have agreed to continue their “useful contacts” and may meet by year’s end, a Kremlin aide said Tuesday, as tensions rise in Washington over the direction of the US leader’s Russia policy.
Last week’s summit between Trump and Putin in the Finnish capital Helsinki unleashed political turmoil in the United States, with some critics accusing the US president of betraying America’s interests.
Despite the furore Trump said he was looking forward to hosting Putin in Washington and the White House said such a meeting may come this autumn.
Putin’s top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said that several days after the Helsinki meeting the Kremlin received a US proposal to organise a new summit in Washington “at the end of the year”.
“During their meeting in Helsinki, the presidents reached an understanding that these useful contacts should be continued,” Ushakov told reporters.
He said the proposal had been passed on to the Russians by Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton.
Ushakov said the two sides had not yet started work on organising the Washington meeting.
“Practical aspects will be discussed later,” he added.
Bolton is set to meet with Russian officials in August but it was not clear so far where that meeting would take place, Ushakov said.
Putin and Trump may also meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires in late November-early December, or at another international event, the advisor added.
Putin has slammed the US opposition to Trump as “pathetic, worthless people” who are willing to sacrifice Russian-US ties for their own ambitions.