Russian President Vladimir Putin says he wants to “fully restore” strained ties between Washington and Moscow, during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“I would very much like your visit to Russia to benefit Russia-U.S. relations and promote their development,” Putin said as he received Pompeo at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Putin also praised the Mueller report, despite its findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“Despite the exotic nature of Mr. Mueller’s commission, on the whole, he conducted quite an objective investigation and confirmed the absence of any collusion between the U.S. administration and Russia,” he said.
Moscow has rejected these claims “from the very beginning as complete nonsense.”
A Kremlin aide later said Putin is also open to a new meeting with Trump at the G20 summit in Japan next month if Moscow receives a formal proposal for such an encounter.
Yuri Ushakov, the Kremlin aide, said Putin’s meeting with Pompeo at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi had not yielded any breakthrough but had been held in a business-like atmosphere.
Pompeo earlier told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that U.S. President Donald Trump was committed to improving relations with Moscow.
Pompeo underlined to Putin that Trump wanted to make “our two peoples more successful and, frankly, the world more successful, too.”
“President Trump wants to do everything we can and he asked me to travel here to communicate that.
“Some of our cooperation has been excellent – on North Korea, on Afghanistan, we’ve done good work – (and) counter-terrorism work – together. These are things we can build upon.”
Trump on Monday said he planned to meet Putin on the sidelines of the forthcoming meeting of the G20 nations, but the Kremlin said it had not yet received any formal request from Washington for such a meeting.