Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are so far scheduled to meet in person at the G20 summit in July, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting that there has been no specific arrangement for the meeting to take place earlier.
“We have no specific information regarding the possible meeting between Putin and Trump so far, we have not even considered the dates yet. Assuming that there is a G20 summit in July this year, one way or the other the presidents will meet there, but, as you know, there has been talk about the possibility of an earlier meeting. So far there is nothing specific in this regard,” Peskov told the press on Monday.
Last week, Putin said that a possible venue for the first encounter with Trump could be Ljubljana, Slovenia, but stated that the choice of venue did not depend on Moscow alone. Putin noted that he also met with former US President Barack Obama in the Slovenian capital.
Both Putin and Trump have repeatedly said they want to try to mend US-Russian relations, which were severely damaged under the previous president. The two recently had a phone conversation, seen by many in Moscow and in Washington as a “good start,” and a significant shift from the rhetoric of the previous US administration.
“Both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilize and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis,” as well as “build up partner cooperation” on a wide range of international issues, according to a Kremlin statement following the phone discussion the two had on January 27.
“Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after [the] call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern,” the White House statement said, calling the conversation “positive” and “a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair.”
While Trump has repeatedly spoken of his desire to mend relations with Russia, he has also mentioned the possibility of lifting the sanctions against Russia, which were imposed by the Obama administration following the referendum leading to Crimea being accepted into the Russian Federation, slammed as ‘annexation’ by both the US and the EU.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said in a recent interview to the Wall Street Journal. Yet, the new US administration has lately been under pressure regarding the issue. There have been reports alleging that Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, before Trump took office. Last week, Flynn denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak.
Peskov assured reporters on Monday that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed lifting sanctions, and neither had any other official Russian and US representatives.
“We have already said there have not been any [such talks].
“Obviously every ambassador informs the [authorities in Moscow] about all the contacts he has so the information gets to us, but we are not willing to comment on internal discussions being held in Washington,” Peskov said.