Two days after refusing President Trump’s invitation to the White House, Vladimir Putin stated at a summit in Johannesburg that he is ready to meet again, if “certain conditions are provided”. He said that he is ready to go to Washington and has invited Donald Trump to Moscow, CNN reports.
“We are ready for such meetings, we are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. He has this invitation already and I told him about it,” said Putin, speaking at the BRICs summit in Johannesburg.
After President Trump invited Putin to the White House, causing consternation among administration officials, and a Russian official rejected the invitation, John Bolton released a statement explaining the administration’s response, CNN reports.
“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Wednesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump is open to the idea of visiting Moscow, per the New York Times.
The White House quickly responded favorably to the idea. “President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.
Putin, who has received praise in Russia for his role in the Helsinki Summit earlier this month, praised Donald Trump and stated meetings between the two leaders are “useful”, according to the Kremlin transcript of Putin’s comments at the BRICS Summit.
“You know, President Trump’s big advantage is that he strives to fulfill his promises, above all to the voters-the American people. Incidentally, this is the specific character of the incumbent President (positive, I think), because, as a rule, after the elections, some or other leaders quickly forget what they promised the people when they went to the polls. Trump is not. You can criticize him for what he does, and many are engaged in this criticism, but one thing is quite obvious that he is striving to fulfill his election promises.
President Trump came under fierce criticism in the US after his closed door meeting with Putin at Helsinki and the joint news conference in which Trump stated Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election was more convincing that the US intelligence community’s assessment that not only did Russia interfere but they did so maliciously and with the intent to help Trump get elected.