Actions Better Than Words, Says Russia After Trump Offer

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Trump Putin
President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a joint news conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland, last month. (Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it welcomed statements by President Donald Trump indicating a desire to cooperate with Russia, but that it would welcome concrete steps to improve relations more.

Trump told Reuters on Monday he would only consider lifting sanctions against Russia if it were to do something positive for the United States, for instance in Syria or in Ukraine.

Trump has repeatedly said he would like better ties with Moscow, but despite meeting President Vladimir Putin last month, relations have come under further strain as Washington announced new sanctions.

“We of course welcome statements that affirm a readiness to cooperate, but we would welcome even more some kind of concrete actions,” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov said the Kremlin would like to hear more details from the United States on any proposed cooperation in Syria and Ukraine, and that Kiev should also take positive steps.

“We need to be specific about what is expected from Russia in terms of Ukraine, and why nothing is expected from the Ukrainian authorities,” he said.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and has backed separatists in the country’s industrial east who are fighting Ukrainian government forces.