Kremlin Hopes Putin, Trump Will Get Along Well

VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, AP

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin said Thursday Russia and the United States can fix their ravaged ties with interactions based on mutual respect once President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that while Moscow and Washington won’t agree on everything, they can normalize their strained relations if they show “mutual respect.”

“Moscow hopes that our presidents will get along well,” Peskov said.

Peskov made the statement while commenting on the news conference Trump held Wednesday. Trump voiced hope he will get along with his Russian counterpart after he takes office on Jan. 20.

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that’s called an asset, not a liability,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do, but there’s a good chance I won’t.”

Peskov welcomed Trump’s readiness to conduct a dialogue with Russia, adding that “it will help us find a way from many difficult situations.”

He also reaffirmed Moscow’s strong denial of any meddling by Russia in the U.S. presidential election.

Peskov previously denied reports that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump. The president-elect has dismissed the information that surfaced publicly this week as “phony stuff” leaked by “sick people.”

Alexander Lebedev, a Russian multimillionaire businessman who served as a KGB officer posted to London in the waning years of the Cold War, also dismissed the newly released Trump file as a poorly executed fake.

“It looks like a slipshod work done by a bungler,” Lebedev, who owns Britain’s Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, said of the uncorroborated dossier in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s difficult to imagine bigger amateurish nonsense.”

Lebedev said he hoped that Trump and Putin could find common ground on a variety of issues, including Syria. Trump has suggested that the U.S. and Russia pool their efforts in combating the Islamic State group in Syria.

“There is a chance for them to make a big deal,” Lebedev said.

He said Moscow and Washington could also team up to tackle money-laundering and other financial crimes.

Lebedev said Russia could be an efficient partner in the international fight against financial crimes, pointing at recent efforts by the Kremlin to crack down on official corruption.
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