Ignoring Problems With Russia, Trump Congratulates Putin On Victory

EPA-EFE  JIM LO SCALZO

EPA-EFE JIM LO SCALZO

Mr. Trump, speaking in the Oval Office Tuesday, said he had a great call with Putin, and congratulated him.

Trump told reporters that he had offered his well wishes on Putin's new six-year term during a conversation on a range of topics, including arms control and the security situations in Syria and North Korea.

On March 15, Washington imposed sanctions on Russian entities and individuals over what US intelligence agencies say was Moscow's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election that put Trump in the White House.

The president's tone drew a rebuke from Sen.

The White House National Security Council declined to comment on the report.

Trump's congratulatory call comes as suspicion of rigged election procedures in Russian Federation abounds, including Putin's primary opponent, Alexei Navalny, being barred from the ballot, according to The Washington Post.

Any interactions between Trump and Putin are closely watched given the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

They also discussed the crises in Ukraine and Syria, stressing the importance of securing progress as soon as possible, the Kremlin said.

Trump signs Taiwan travel act which China opposes
Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said he is looking forward to more interaction between the two countries. The action came despite China warning that the Taiwan Travel Act would severely damage relations between Washington and Beijing.

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, criticized Trump's outreach to the Russian leader.

The Kremlin said in a statement that the two presidents also spoke Tuesday about the need to coordinate efforts to limit the arms race and closer cooperation on strategic stability and counter-terrorism. Trump said the call with Putin was "a very good call", and he added that he would be meeting with the Russian leader "in the not-too-distant future". According to the latest update of the Russian Central Election Commission, incumbent President Vladimir Putin is scoring 76.6% of the vote.

While many world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emanuel Macron, wasted little time in contacting Putin following the March 18 vote, Trump's silence was seen as a show of the tense state of relations between the two countries.

With U.S. -Russian relations at a long-time low, Peskov said, "Putin remains open for normalizing relations with our American partners where it is in our interests".

Talk of an "arms race" has increased since Putin held a blood-pumping State of the Union this month, where he showed off Russia's newest nuclear weapons, blaming the U.S. for leaving the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and telling his audience: "They didn't listen to us then". Russian Federation has denied the accusation.

Since the election, Putin has toned down his rhetoric against the West, saying on March 19 that Russian Federation wants to build "constructive" relations with other countries but that "not everything depends on us".

Trump and Putin last met in Vietnam during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Meanwhile, critics laid into Trump earlier this month for his lukewarm response to the nerve-agent attack on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, both of whom are now on life support.

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