Putin upbeat about Russia-US ties after summit with Trump

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Moscow, July 20 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin said here on Thursday that he was enthusiastic about the possibility of improving ties with the US after his talks this week in Helsinki with Donald Trump.

The talks, which took place on Monday and lasted more than four hours, were not enough to resolve the tensions and problems between Russia and the US that have accumulated throughout the years, but the two nations have started down the “path of positive change,” Putin said in a televised address to Russian diplomats, Efe reported.

The current state of relations between Moscow and Washington is “worse than the Cold War” in some respects, the Russian leader said.

“On the whole the meeting was successful,” Putin told the Russian ambassadors, adding that the talks produced “positive agreements.”

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Putin, however, warned of the existence of forces in the United States “that are ready to easily sacrifice Russian-American relations to their ambitions.”

Those “powerful” forces are “ready to sacrifice US-Russia relations to their domestic political interests, ready to sacrifice the economy with what could hurt tens of thousands of jobs,” Putin said.

“They are also ready to sacrifice their allies in Europe, their own security,” he added.

During their joint press conference in Helsinki, the US and Russian presidents said that they agreed on the issue of reducing nuclear weapons.

Putin said Thursday that work should begin “immediately” on reaffirming the New START arms control treaty, noting that without action, the pact would “simply cease to exist” when it expires in 18 months.

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