Trump calls Putin to congratulate him on re-election victory
US President Donald Trump has said he spoke to Vladimir Putin over the phone to congratulate the Russian president on his re-election victory, and they discussed the possibility of a meeting in the near future.
“I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory,” Trump said on Tuesday, adding that they “will probably get together in the not-too-distant future.”
Trump made the phone call two days after Putin won the election on Sunday. The call also came hours after the Kremlin said it did not regard Trump’s failure to congratulate Putin as an unfriendly act.
Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999, won nearly 77 percent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election.
In his victory message, Putin said he was willing to resolve differences with the West, particularly in regard to the intensifying arms race.
Trump said the Russian leader repeated that desire in their phone conversation and that they would discuss the issue in their meeting when it takes place.
The arms race, Trump said, is “getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything close to what we have.”
The US president said he and his Russian counterpart will also talk about North Korea, Ukraine and Syria, among “various other things.”
The Kremlin also said in a statement following the call that “special attention has been paid to working out the issue of holding a possible meeting at the highest level.”
“The two leaders spoke out in favor of developing practical cooperation in various areas, including in ensuring strategic stability and combating international terrorism. In particular, they stressed the importance of concerted efforts to curb the arms race,” the statement added.
The issue of arms race came up just as the head of US Strategic Command made a case for the US to add another type of atomic weapon to its nuclear arsenal.
“I strongly agree with the need for a low-yield nuclear weapon,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten said of the Pentagon’s request for a low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
“That capability is a deterrence weapon to respond to the threat that Russia in particular is portraying,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The Pentagon believes Moscow considers US nuclear weapons as too big to be used, meaning they are no longer an effective deterrent.
Culled from Presstv