Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that “fierce domestic” politics in the U.S. have kept him from meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a Reuters report.
“You have to ask our colleagues in the USA,” Putin told Austrian broadcaster ORF, in remarks that were picked up by Reuters, when asked why a meeting hadn't taken place. “In my view it is the consequence of the fierce domestic political contest in the United States.”
The possibility of a Trump-Putin summit was raised in March, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the two presidents had discussed “a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House.”
But at least publicly, there has been little momentum since then for a meeting between Trump and Putin, with the U.S. president focused on scheduling a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and on resetting U.S. trade relationships around the globe. Tense relations with Russia have seemingly only worsened in the interim as well, most notably marked by the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Great Britain, a close U.S. ally.
Putin, who warned earlier this year that his nation possesses new nuclear weapons that can evade defensive systems, said he and Trump had previously discussed their shared concern regarding a “new arms race,” common ground for the two men.
“In one of our last discussions, Donald said he is concerned about the danger of a new arms race. I agree with him entirely,” Putin said.