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Putin says Russia wants to build good relations with US

March 30, 15:04 UTC+3

Public opinion polls in the United States show that there are many friends of Russia in the USA, Putin said

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© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

ARKHANGELSK, March 30. /TASS/. Russia intends to build partner relations with the United States while information on the contrary is lie, fabrications and provocations. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"Public opinion polls in the United States show that there are many friends of Russia in the USA. First of all, I want to say the following: we perceive and treat the United States as a great power, with which we want to develop very kind and partner relations," the Russian leader said in response to a question at the international Arctic forum in Arkhangelsk about Russian-US relations.

"All the rest is lie and fabrications towards Russia, and provocations," the Russian president said. He said all this is used "for America’s domestic political agenda".

Some forces in the US are playing the Russian card in order to strengthen their political position, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Lies, fake news and provocations concerning Russia are being used "in the US domestic political battle," Putin said commenting on the Russian-US relations.

"Some political groups in the US are playing the Russian card in order to achieve their political goals and strengthen their position within the country," the Russian president stressed.

Putin expressed confidence that "it is not in the interests of the majority of Americans to reduce to an absurdity Russian-American relations in favor of a domestic political calendar".

"What do we want - to curtail our relations altogether?" he asked. "They are already almost at a zero point. The turnover is a meager $20 billion, it used to be $27 billion - an insignificant figure in fact for such countries as Russia and the US, while now it has slumped to $20 billion," Putin noted.

"What do we want - to fully sever diplomatic relations? Bring the situation to that of the 1960s, to the Caribbean Crisis, and then what?" the president said.

"In general, these people who behave so irresponsibly, what are they driving us to, including the US people? It seems to me this is a big mistake, and I very much hope that someday, the sooner the better, the situation will normalize," Putin summed up.

Compromise with US on climate change issue is possible

It is possible to come to a compromise with the US on the climate change issue, Putin said.

"In the end, we were able to find a compromise (with then-US President George W. Bush), I think, this time it will be the same," Putin said.

"I would not use these issues, important for all mankind, as a tool in the domestic political battle in the US," the Russian president added.

When asked if he was concerned over Washington’s position on this issue, Putin said: "I believe we should try to find a compromise instead of voicing concerns."

Russia proposes cooperation on cybersecurity

Russia has repeatedly proposed cooperation on cybersecurity to the US, but has not received a positive response, according to Putin.

"We hear these endless and groundless accusations of some kind of interference, talking about cybersecurity. Do you know that long ago we suggested to the US party that we develop and sign an agreement, a joint document, an intergovernmental agreement on securing cybersecurity? We suggested it but the US party refused," he said.

Putin assumed that it was done to make it easier to accuse Russia "proceeding from, the political calendar."

Common interests in Arctic

According to Putin, Russia and the United States have common interests in many spheres, including hydrocarbons production in the Arctic region.

"I strongly hope we will embark on a two-way road and will improve Russian-American relations to the benefit of our peoples and the whole world," the head of state said.

The Bering Strait traffic, environment protection and "high opportunities for production of raw hydrocarbons and other mineral resources in the Arctic zone" are among specific regional matters of interest for Russia and the US, Putin said. "We have very good examples - we are cooperating with ExxonMobil and other partners in development of this region. There are huge prospects for Russia, for the United States, and for the whole world at large," he added.

Putin expects US to help conflict resolution

The new US administration should take steps to help resolve regional crises, including the Ukrainian conflict, Putin said.

"If we try to use dangerous tools and stir up regional crises in order to restrain someone, it may lead to a global conflict," Putin stressed. He added that "on the contrary, we need to take steps in order to resolve any kind of conflicts." "I expect our US counterparts will take the path of cooperation," the Russian president said.

"As for Ukraine, we know that the US and some other countries think that the worse relations are between Russia and Ukraine, the better it is for them, because it weakens Russia and prevents integration processes that could strengthen Russia, particularly in the economic sphere," Putin added.

'A very good signal'

Putin told the Arctic forum he sees positive changes in cooperation between Russia and the United States on Syria.

"Still in some sensitive areas, such as cooperation on Syria, despite all statements, the real cooperation is stepping up, deepening and broadening," Putin said at the forum’s plenary meeting.

"We feel interest of our US partners in developing this cooperation, and this is a very good signal," Putin said.

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