Trump reportedly invited Vladimir Putin to the White House

Photo: Saul Loeb /AFP/Getty Images
  • US President Donald Trump suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin could visit the White House, the Russian news outlet TASS reported on Monday, citing a Kremlin aide named Yuri Ushakov.
  • The White House responded that Trump and Putin discussed a meeting in the “not-too-distant future,” but didn’t offer any more details.
  • The US and Russia have been at odds lately over the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal in the UK. The US and many of its allies have accused Russia of orchestrating the attack.

President Donald Trump has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit him at the White House, the Russian news outlet TASS reported Monday, citing a Kremlin aide named Yuri Ushakov.

“During a telephone conversation between our presidents, Trump suggested that the first meeting could be held in Washington,” Ushakov told journalists on Monday, according to the TASS report. “If everything goes well, I hope that the American side would not refuse its proposal to discuss the possibility of organising the summit talks.”

Trump and Putin spoke over the phone on March 20. Neither side has confirmed details of a proposed summit, and it is unclear whether Putin would accept an invitation to visit Washington, DC.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Monday that Trump and Putin had discussed “a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House.”

“We have nothing further to add at this time,” Sanders added.

US-Russia relations took a downturn last month after Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats in response to the March 4 poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, which the US and many of its allies have accused Russia of orchestrating.

“The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world,” the White House said in a statement last week.

Last week, Russia responded in kind by expelling 60 US diplomats.

Ushakov indicated that while the expulsions hurt the chances of a meeting between Trump and Putin, it couldn’t be ruled out.

“Against the backdrop of these events, it’s difficult to discuss the possibility of holding a summit,” Ushakov said on Monday,according to Reuters.

“We want to believe that the discussions will begin,” Ushakov said of a possible summit, Reuters reported. “We want to hope that … one day, at one time or another, we can arrive at the start of a serious and constructive dialogue.”

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