Putin and Trump discuss North Korea ‘crisis zone’ in phone call: Kremlin
The conversation came a day after Putin mocked claims of Russian collusion in Trump’s election
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US counterpart Donald Trump discussed the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear programme in a phone call on Thursday, the Kremlin said.
The two heads of state discussed “the situation in several crisis zones, with a focus on solving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula”, it said in a statement, without elaborating.
Washington this week said it was ready to talk to North Korea – which has launched several intercontinental ballistic missiles in recent months – “without preconditions”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that while the Trump administration was still determined to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal, it was willing to “have the first meeting without preconditions”.
Putin, in his annual press conference with hundreds of journalists in Moscow Thursday, welcomed the United States’ “awareness of reality” in the crisis.
However, he called on all sides to “stop aggravating the situation” and said Moscow did not recognise North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.
Putin also said the US is only hurting itself by investigating alleged collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia.
Putin said in remarks that mirrored Trump’s arguments that concerns about collusion were “invented by people who oppose President Trump to undermine his legitimacy” and demonstrated a “lack of respect to voters who cast their ballots for him.”
White House spokesman Sarah Sanders confirmed that the phone conversation had taken place, and a statement would be released later.
Additional reporting by Associated Press