President-elect Donald Trump received a letter from Vladimir Putin that me made public on Friday, in which the Russian leader told Trump to “to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation.” Putin also offered his “warmest Christmas and New Year greetings.”
“A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct,” Trump stated. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”
The letter, dated December 15, said that “serious global and regional challenges, which our countries have had to face in recent years, show that relations between Russia and the US remain an important factor in ensuring stability and security of the modern world.”
Putin continued to write, “I hope that after you assume the position of the President of the United States of America, we will be able — by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner — to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level.”
This letter comes just a few days after Russia publicly complained about its relationship with the United States under the Obama administration, and also after Trump said that we need to “strengthen and expand” US nuclear capability to counter other nuclear threats.
Putin also said at his year-end news conference on Thursday that the two countries “need to discuss ways to normalize our relations. During his election campaign, Trump said it would be proper to normalize and it can’t be worse, and I agree with him.”
“Nearly all levels of our dialogue (with the US) has been frozen,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
US State Department spokesperson John Kirby contradicted this assertion, stating that “diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues.”
The many disagreements between the two current administrations stems from opposing viewpoints on Syria and Ukraine policy, as well as allegations by the US that Russia interfered with the 2016 US elections. Tensions were also raised by Trumps blatant dismissal of nuclear concerns with Russia. The president-elect even went as far as stating “let it be an arms race” on Friday.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer backed up Trumps comments by insisting on CNN that “If another country or countries want to threaten our safety, our sovereignty, [Trump’s] going to do what it takes.”