Kremlin says Putin-Trump call set for Saturday

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. President Vladimir Putin says Turkey acted contrary to its own interests by downing a Russian warplane. Speaking at a televised news conference Thursday, Putin said that he sees no possibility of overcoming the diplomatic strain under the current Turkish leadership. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to speak by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend, the Kremlin said Friday.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the conversation is scheduled for Saturday. They last spoke when Putin congratulated Trump on his victory shortly after his election.

Peskov said that Putin wants to congratulate Trump on taking office, adding that the two leaders are also expected to “exchange views about main parameters of current bilateral relations.”

He wouldn’t elaborate on what specific issues could be discussed and wouldn’t say if the two leaders could use the call to agree on a meeting.

The Kremlin has applauded Trump’s promises to mend ties with Moscow, which have plunged to post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections. Russian officials and lawmakers have warned, however, that rebuilding ravaged ties will take time.

Barack Obama’s administration and the European Union slapped Moscow with sanctions for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

The restrictions have limited Russian companies’ access to international financial markets and barred key technology transfers, helping drive the Russian economy into recession. Russia has responded by banning imports of most Western agricultural products.

Asked about the claims that Trump was considering an order to lift the U.S. sanctions against Russia, Peskov said he has no information about it.

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