MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to hold a summit with Donald Trump in a third country at talks on Wednesday with the US leader’s hawkish national security advisor, voicing hope for an easing of tensions between the two nations.
Adviser John Bolton was received in Moscow with top honours: a lunch hosted by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov followed by a markedly courteous meeting with Putin at the Kremlin.
US-Russian relations have been strained by disagreement over the Syrian conflict, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its involvement in eastern Ukraine and allegations of political meddling.
The Kremlin’s top foreign policy aide said Putin and Bolton agreed that the two presidents would meet at a place and time to be announced on Thursday.
“Your visit to Moscow gives us hope that we can at least take the first step to reviving full-blown ties between our states,” Putin told Bolton at the Kremlin after the two smiled and shook hands for the cameras.
“We never sought confrontation,” Putin said, adding he regretted that the Russia-US ties were not “on top form”.
Bolton, known for his hawkish reputation and tough stance on Moscow, said it was important to keep talking and complimented Putin on his handling of the football World Cup, currently taking place in Russia.