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Kremlin says too early to talk about Putin’s visit to US

July 14, 16:15 UTC+3

Putin's spokesman has suggested to wait for an invitation first

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

BELGOROD, July 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin has declined to comment on the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the US, as there has been no such invitation from the American side yet.

"Let’s wait for an invitation, the decisions are made after the invitation is received," Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked whether the Russian leader will agree to visit the White House if he is invited by US President Donald Trump.

Answering a question about what the answer could be like, if such an invitation was received tomorrow, Peskov noted that "tomorrow has yet to come."

The US leader earlier told reporters that he would invite the Russian president to the White House when the time is right for that. "I don’t think this is the right time, but the answer is yes, I would," Trump said.

The first meeting between Putin and Trump took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7. It lasted more than two hours instead of the planned thirty minutes. It was reported that the Russian and US presidents discussed the settlement in Syria and Ukraine, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and security in cyber space.

Russia's diplomatic compounds 

Peskov thinks it is incorrect to put forward any demands to Moscow over the return of its diplomatic property seized in the United States.

Commenting on the White House spokesperson’s words that the US could give the diplomatic compounds back to Moscow if the latter demonstrates honesty of intentions on Syria, Peskov said:

"The return of Russian diplomatic property cannot and should not be conditioned by anything. It categorically runs counter to international law. It was most likely some incorrect wording as they [demands to Moscow] are out of question."

Until now, the Russian president had not taken any retaliatory steps in response to expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States in December 2016 and the seizure of diplomatic mansions, he said.

"The head of state who defines the fundamentals of Russia’s foreign policy has not taken any decisions yet. Along with this, we have reiterated that the situation with both diplomats and property remains inadmissible as, of course, in this case it poses a serious test to Russia’s patience," he underlined.

Earlier, Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, told journalists that the Trump administration was considering the return of two Russian diplomatic compounds seized in the United States and may decide it if Moscow shows "acts of good faith" with regards to Syria.

In late December 2016, the Obama administration introduced a new round of sanctions against some Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, US authorities expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Washington attributed these sanctions to cyber attacks against US political institutions, accusing Russia of being involved. However, Moscow fully rejected all allegations.

The Russian personnel’s access to these compounds was barred. Moscow has not given a tit-for-tat response so far.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that "if the wheels are not set in motion", Russia is prepared to reduce staff numbers at the US embassy in Moscow and to seize a US mansion and warehouse in response to the US actions.

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