Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he is willing to talk to US President Donald Trump, if that is what his American colleague wants. However, Putin observed that Trump’s re-election campaign could complicate Russia-US relations.
Trump said previously that he is expecting to meet with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan, although Moscow claims it has not yet received any official requests for a meeting.
Relations between the two countries are tense due to a number of factors, from Syria and Ukraine to accusations of interference in US elections, which Moscow denies.
Earlier this month, Putin remarked that relations between Moscow and Washington are still deteriorating.
“Dialog is always good, it is always needed. Of course, if America shows interest in this – I have already said this multiple times – we are open to this dialog, to the extent that our partners are open to it,” Putin said on Thursday during the annual “Direct Line” TV show.
According to Russian news agencies, Putin added that internal political considerations in the US are complicating the prospects of developing bilateral relations. “We understand and see what is going on there in the internal political scene in the US. Even if the president wants to take certain steps towards [us], or wants to say something, there are a host of organizations related to the activity of different government institutions,” Putin explained, “Especially since now the incumbent head of state will constantly be keeping an eye on the demands of the election campaign, which he has already begun.”
The Russian leader also touched on the topic of US sanctions: “As for the sanctions, in my opinion, it is a big mistake by the US, but I hope that at some point the realization of this will come and that it will be rectified.”
Discussing the situation in the Middle East, Putin emphasized that an armed conflict between the US and Iran could have catastrophic consequences: “The US says that it does not exclude the possibility of using armed force. But I want to say straight away that that would be a catastrophe for the region, at the very least. It would lead to an outburst of violence and, possibly, to an increased number of refugees from the region”.
“It is extremely difficult to calculate what would happen if military force were used. Because Iran is a Shiite country, and even the Islamic world considers them people capable of going to extremes if necessary for self defense, the defense of their country. And nobody knows what these extremes will result in. Who they will affect is also difficult to say. I would really not like things to develop in this way,” the Russian president added.
Commenting on the conclusions of the Joint Investigation Team regarding the MH17 catastrophe over eastern Ukraine, Putin said that Russia finds them unsatisfactory: “Russia has never shirked its responsibility, if this responsibility lies on its shoulders. What we have seen and that which has been presented as proof of Russia’s guilt is absolutely unacceptable to us, we don’t believe there is any evidence.”