Trump emphasises toughness on Russia, also expects better ties

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Washington, April 4 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has showed mixed attitude toward Russia, emphasising his toughness on Moscow while expecting better bilateral relations.

“Probably nobody’s been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” said Trump on Tuesday at the White House in a working luncheon with visiting leaders from three Baltic countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Trump said “ideally, we want to be able to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing”.

“I think I could have a very good relationship with Russian President (Vladimir) Putin,” noted Trump later in the day at a joint press conference with the leaders from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Relationship between Washington and Moscow has plunged to a new low, as the US expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle in a concerted action with Britain and other Western nations over an ex-spy poisoning case.

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Moscow retaliated with the expulsion of an equal number of US diplomats and the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg.

So far, Trump has kept from launching from direct verbal attack against Moscow over the poisoning attack.

Last week, Trump made a call to Putin to congratulate him on his re-election and offered to meet at several “potential venues” including the White House in the near future, despite strong opposition from senior national security advisors.

–IANS

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