Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he is ready to go to Washington and has invited US President Donald Trump to Moscow, but there “has to be necessary conditions.”
“We are ready for such meetings, we are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. He has this invitation already and I told him about it,” said Putin, speaking at the BRICs summit in Johannesburg.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is “open to visiting Moscow,” but suggested he has yet to receive a formal invitation from his Russian counterpart.
“President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” Sanders said in a statement Friday morning.
But Putin’s comments come days after Trump invited Putin to meet in Washington later this year, before quickly backtracking and pushing a potential meeting until next year.
“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Wednesday.
Less than a week earlier, the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had asked Bolton to invite Putin to Washington for a second round of meetings in Washington in the fall.
The Russian President on Friday also praised Trump, saying the US President’s “great virtue is that he always wants to keep his promises to his voters.”
“You can critique him for what he does and many people do that but one thing is clear – he is willing to fulfill his campaign promises,” Putin said, adding that he viewed their meeting earlier this month in Helsinki, Finland, as “useful.”