Putin: Russia to Work to Improve Relations But Will Not Ask U.S. to Lift Sanctions

Moscow would do all it could to improve relations with the United States, but will not ask Washington to lift the measures, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the G20 summit on Saturday, according to TASS news agency.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have been strained by years of diplomatic conflicts over Ukraine and accusations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, which brought heavy economic sanctions against Russia. 

Putin was speaking at the G20 summit in Japan’s Osaka where he met U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss issues ranging from trade to disarmament. He also invited Trump to visit Moscow in May next year.

Putin described the talks in Osaka as a “good meeting, business-like, pragmatic” and said the leaders agreed that two-way economic ties required improvement.

“I think we both understand that we need to somehow resolve the current situation,” Putin said, adding that the two nations needed to “somehow find the strength to turn the page and move forward.”

Asked during a news conference at the summit about the probability of more U.S. sanctions against Russia, Putin said it was up to Washington to decide how best to build relations with Moscow.

Putin said he and Trump had discussed the election meddling allegations and the situation in Venezuela, without revealing any details.

Trump casually described the meeting with Putin as “excellent,” and they had a “great” and “tremendous” discussion. He also said Russia and the US could trade much more than they currently do.

“I think they’d like to do trade with the United States. They have great product, they have great land, they have very rich land, a lot of oil, a lot of minerals,” Trump said. “We could do fantastically well. We do very little trade with Russia, which is ridiculous, frankly,” he added.