Putin says Russia ready to improve relations with U.S.

MOSCOW - Russia is ready to improve ties with the United States and work with whomever is elected its next president, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

See Full Article

He said his talks with U.S. Secretary John Kerry earlier this week showed that Washington is ready to "move toward settling the issues that can only be settled through joint efforts."

Addressing Russia's strained relations with some of its neighbours at his annual news conference, attended by hundreds of Russian and foreign journalists, Putin said he saw no possibility of overcoming the tensions with Turkey under its current leadership, and wanted to see the conflict in Ukraine settled as soon as possible.

Putin said the Russian military operation in Syria will continue until a political process starts, but it is up to the Syrians to decide when to stop fighting and sit down for talks. "We aren't going to be more Syrian than the Syrians themselves," he added.

He also offered assurances that the Russian economy was showing signs of stabilization despite plummeting oil prices, in fielding an array of questions from journalists representing state-owned media organizations about whether the government was coping with the challenges and whether the country could afford waging a war.

The economy is set to decline by 3.8 per cent this year, and average income has dropped this year for the first time since Putin was first elected in 2000.

Russian warplanes have flown thousands of combat sorties in Syria since Moscow began its air campaign on Sept. 30. Putin said the campaign will continue until work begins on a political settlement.

The president said he was unsure whether Russia needs a permanent military base in Syria, since new Russian weapons, such as sea- and air-launched cruise missiles, give Moscow enough punch to strike an enemy from afar.

Putin said Moscow supports the U.S. draft of a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria. He said Russia and the U.S. agree on the need to ensure the drafting of a new constitution for Syria and create mechanisms of control over future elections, in which Syrians themselves will determine their leadership.

Some of his harshest words were reserved for Turkey. After a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber along the Syrian border on Nov. 24, Putin said he was stunned that Ankara, instead of contacting Moscow to explain its actions, turned immediately to NATO.

With Ukraine, however, Putin said Russia was interested in seeing the conflict settled as quickly as possible. He urged the Ukrainian government to approve legislation on holding elections in the eastern regions, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting government troops since April 2014. More than 9,000 people have been killed.

While insisting that Russia has no regular troops in eastern Ukraine, Putin acknowledged that there have been people "performing some military tasks."

Asked whether Moscow is ready to exchange two men Ukraine says are Russian soldiers for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko and other prisoners, Putin said any exchange must be equal and details could be discussed with the Ukrainian authorities.


Nataliya Vasilyeva and Lynn Berry contributed to this report.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Ukrainian lawmakers must leave guns outside parliament

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Ukraine's parliament has approved a bill requiring lawmakers to lock up their guns before entering the chamber. The bill passed Tuesday obliges lawmakers to leave weapons and explosives in lockers. The move follows last week's statement by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who accused lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko, a former military pilot who became a national icon after spending two years in a Russian prison, of plotting an attack on parliament with grenades and automatic weapons. Source
  • Family friend who took in Florida school shooting suspect speaks to media

    World News CBC News
    The brother of the 19-year-old who confessed to gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school woke up in jail Tuesday following his arrest for trespassing on the campus. Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz, 18, on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus after being warned to stay away. Source
  • Electricity deal clinches $100M bitcoin mining operation in Medicine Hat

    Canada News CBC News
    The City of Medicine Hat has agreed to supply electricity and lease land to a Toronto-based cryptocurrency mining company in a deal that will see $100 million in construction spending in the southern Alberta city. The city will provide electric energy capacity of about 42 megawatts to Hut 8 Mining Corp. Source
  • Screaming, insults, pushed chairs: Integrity watchdog slams prison official for abusive behaviour

    Canada News CBC News
    A director with Canada's prison system screamed, hurled insults and behaved aggressively at employees on a near-daily basis, the federal integrity commissioner concludes in a report tabled in Parliament today. Public sector integrity commissioner Joe Friday said Brigitte de Blois, based in the Correctional Service of Canada's downtown Ottawa headquarters, committed a serious breach of the code of discipline and values and ethics code by engaging in "repetitive abusive behaviour" and berating…
  • Ontario university won't stop talk by anti-immigration speaker Faith Goldy

    Canada News CBC News
    Some students, faculty and groups at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., are speaking out against a planned talk Tuesday evening by Faith Goldy — a woman described as alt-right and a white supremacist sympathizer. Goldy is giving a talk on keeping Canada's borders closed to immigration as part of a speaker series being put on by a new campus group, Laurier Society for Open Inquiry. Source
  • 'Patience': Spring expected to creep in slowly

    Canada News CTV News
    Spring has officially sprung in Canada, but the effects of the “fickle” season will be slow to appear across the country, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips. “This spring, patience is the key word,” Phillips told CTV News Channel on Tuesday, with the temperature in Toronto sitting at several degrees below freezing. Source
  • Western law students being taught how to relax

    Canada News CBC News
    It's an annual rite of spring on university campuses — exam stress. Yet, perhaps defying the odds, almost two dozen students at Western University's Law school aren't tearing their hair out. They are meditating. "If you can focus just on the present, your thoughts are not focused on the future, our to-do list or regrets about the past," said Thomas Telfer, a law professor at Western and the man behind a new mindfulness meditation course. Source
  • Toronto woman, 27, slain in murder-suicide: police

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A 27-year-old Toronto woman is the victim of what police are describing as a murder-suicide in the city. Police say they were called to a condo building in the north end of the city on March 6 and found a 30-year-old man dead on a balcony. Source
  • Sentencing for N.S. sailboat captain caught smuggling cocaine delayed again

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The sentencing hearing for a sailboat captain caught smuggling 250 kilograms of cocaine from the Caribbean to a Nova Scotia boatyard has been delayed yet again. Jacques John Grenier, facing charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importing cocaine, appeared briefly in Halifax provincial court Tuesday. Source
  • Liberals propose tightening Canada's firearms law with new record-keeping practices

    Canada News CBC News
    The Liberal government hopes to tighten Canada's firearms law with changes to the background check system and new mandatory record-keeping practices for vendors. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled Bill C-71 on Tuesday, which includes new provisions to "enhance" existing background checks for those seeking a firearms license. Source