After Wait, Putin Finally Gets Trump Call on Election Win
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, hours after the Kremlin said it was still waiting for a White House call on the Russian leader’s re-election.
Trump said he congratulated Putin on his victory and “we’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.” The two leaders had “a very good call,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
The Kremlin said the conversation was “constructive and business-like.” Trump and Putin discussed a possible meeting and the need to ensure “strategic stability” through “coordinated efforts to limit the arms race,” it said in a statement.
Earlier Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Trump hadn’t been in touch since Putin won 77 percent of votes in Sunday’s presidential election. While “we should not consider this an unfriendly step,” Peskov said many other world leaders had congratulated Putin and he hinted there was still time for Trump to call, saying “Tomorrow’s another day.”
The conversation took place a day after the White House told reporters there were no plans for Trump to call Putin and that the Russian leader’s re-election was unsurprising. Putin’s victory provoked a mixed response from other leaders.
The U.K. criticized the conduct of the election amid rising tensions after Prime Minister Theresa May blamed a nerve-agent attack on Russia, which denies involvement. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel did offer congratulations, French President Emmanuel Macron pointedly wished success “to Russia and the Russian people” in a phone call with Putin, according to an Elysee Palace statement.
Peskov said Putin and Trump didn’t talk about the case of the nerve-agent poisoning in England of former spy Sergei Skripal, the Interfax news service reported. Last week, Trump issued a joint statement with May, Merkel and Macron that backed the U.K. and declared that there was “no plausible alternative explanation” to Russian responsibility.
Putin has also received congratulations from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe and the leaders of most former Soviet republics, according to the Kremlin’s website.
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