World Bulletin / News Desk
US President Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin Tuesday on his re-election, as the leaders raised the prospect of a summit in the near future -- while sidestepping both the issue of election meddling and a spy attack that has rocked Moscow's relations with the West.
"I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on his electoral victory," the US leader said.
"The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future," he added.
In calling Putin, Trump ignored explicit advice from his national security advisers not to do so, The Washington Post reported, quoting officials familiar with the call.
This warning included a section in his briefing materials in capital letters that read "DO NOT CONGRATULATE," the Post said.
According to a Kremlin statement, the two leaders also stressed the importance of joint efforts to limit an arms race and boost economic cooperation.
"On the whole, the conversation was constructive and business-like," the Kremlin said, adding that its goal was to help the two countries "overcome the problems that had accumulated in the Russian-US relations".
Russia is under pressure from London and its allies to explain how its former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned on British soil, with a nerve agent the UK says is Soviet-designed.
Moscow has denied being involved.
Although the nerve attack has topped global headlines for weeks, it did not come up during the leaders' conversation, according to both the Kremlin and White House.
"I don't believe that was discussed in today's call," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Nor did they address Washington's imposition last week of a new round of sanctions against Moscow designed to punish Russians responsible for attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
Nor did they discuss the questions that have been raised over the weekend poll in Russia.
"The focus was to talk about areas of shared interests," Sanders said.Last Mod: 21 Mart 2018, 11:49