The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone today about bringing their two countries closer together in a relationship of “non-interference.”
In a readout of the call, the Russian government said Putin, who marked Trump’s victory in a statement last week, “once again congratulated” Trump, “wished him success in implementing his election program and said he was ready to develop a dialogue of partnership with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.”
“During the conversation Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump not only agreed on the absolutely unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations but also expressed support for active joint efforts to normalize relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues,” the Kremlin statement continued. “They emphasized the importance of establishing a reliable foundation for bilateral ties by developing the trade and economic component.”
“Both leaders noted that next year it will be 210 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States, which itself should encourage a return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation in the interests of both countries, as well as global stability and security.”
The Kremlin added that Putin and Trump “both spoke of the need to work together in the struggle against the number one common enemy – international terrorism and extremism. In this context, they discussed issues related to solving the crisis in Syria.”
Russia is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his election that he believes Assad is fighting ISIS and said he fears “we end up fighting Russia” if the U.S. opposes Assad.
“It was agreed to maintain contact by phone and arrange a meeting in person in the future, with preparations to be conducted by representatives of both sides,” the Kremlin added.
Trump is reportedly considering former UN Ambassador John Bolton for secretary of State. In a 2014 New York Daily News op-ed, Bolton ripped the Obama administration for ignoring Russian aggression against Ukraine.
“The West made a major mistake in 2008 when Europeans rejected Washington’s proposal to put both Georgia and Ukraine on a clear path to NATO membership, settling instead for vague, aspirational statements. Four months later, Russian troops entered Georgia, and Russia increased its efforts to subvert Ukraine’s struggling young democracy,” Bolton wrote. “Today, we may be on the verge of seeing Russia’s strategy pay off, and the West’s exposed as hollow.”
“America should assert unambiguously that it will urgently press for full NATO membership for a democratic Ukraine. This is precious little, but it is the only way to give hope to Ukrainians who want to prevent being pulled back into Moscow’s orbit.”