Putin Hopeful Russia-U.S. Ties Can Be Restored After Elections

  • Putin says no plan to influence U.S. presidential voting
  • Confrontation isn’t his choice, Russian leader tells reporters

Russia hopes its ties with the U.S. can be restored after elections regardless of who wins, according to President Vladimir Putin.

While Democrat Hillary Clinton so far is aggressive toward Russia and Republican Donald Trump wants cooperation, the Kremlin is not ruling out the possibility that the candidates’ positions will change when one of them becomes the U.S. president, Putin told reporters on Sunday. He spoke after meeting with leaders of Brazil, China, India and South Africa at a summit in the Indian state of Goa.

Vladimir Putin following the BRICS meetings in Goa on Oct. 16.

Photographer: Alexei Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images

“If our partners in the United States intend to work with us, we will,” Putin said. “I hope that when the debate is over, this difficult period in the United State’s internal political life is over, there’ll be a chance to restore relations between Russia and the U.S.”

Ties between the two former Cold War rivals have worsened since the collapse of a Syrian cease-fire agreement, with the U.S. accusing Russia of war crimes in the Middle Eastern country and of cyber warfare aimed at influencing the U.S. election.

Russia has no influence on the U.S. vote, Putin said. He suggested the accusations are hypocritical, given Russia’s experience seeing American authorities “spying on everyone and eavesdropping on everyone,” Putin said.

U.S.-led airstrikes in northern Iraq pose a danger for civilians and one can see the “obvious parallel” here with Russia’s moves in Syria, Putin said. Yet, Russia doesn’t plan to be “hysterical” about them, he said.

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