Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Trump Criticized For Congratulating Putin On Sunday's Election Win

US President Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg Germany US President Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg Germany
Delia Stanley | 21 March, 2018, 08:20

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he will probably meet Russian President Vladimir Putin who won Sunday's election in a landslide victory "in the not too distant future". "The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race".

The two leaders talked over the phone on Tuesday and discussed U.S. -Russia relations and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. "An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections", a statement issued by his office read.

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.

Trump's decision to congratulate Putin on his victory prompted immediate criticism from Russian Federation hawks in Congress like Arizona Sen.

The U.S. State Department endorsed the OSCE's preliminary findings, said spokesperson Heather Nauert, and called Trump's call to Putin "protocol".

However, Trump did congratulate Putin during the call.

"We don't get to dictate how other countries operate", she told reporters in a briefing.

Trump himself has always been reluctant to publicly criticize Putin.

Russian Federation has received global condemnation after Britain blamed Moscow for the recent nerve agent attack that sickened Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Russian Federation has denied the allegations.

He complained in a documentary released online by Russian state television on March 7 - two weeks before the country's elections - that the USA was "unpredictable", though he called Trump a potential partner.

After his victory Sunday, Putin struck a conciliatory tone in his celebratory remarks where he insisted that the priority for his new term would be economic growth and improving domestic conditions ahead of defense and security spending.

"We've been very clear in the actions that we've taken that we're going to be tough on Russian Federation, particularly when it comes to areas that we feel where they've stepped out of place", Sanders said. A Kremlin statement said the two leaders also discussed Syria and Ukraine.

"Special attention was given to considering the issue of a possible bilateral summit", the Kremlin statement said.

She emphasized, however, that Trump is determined to establish a working relationship with Putin to tackle global challenges, including confronting North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

But Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appeared less concerned, noting Trump has also offered congratulations to other leaders of more totalitarian states.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's comments on Tuesday.

The revelation adds another layer to an emerging portrait in which Trump has repeatedly been reluctant to confront Putin amid an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the 2016 race in his favor.

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