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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Engaged couple finds love -- despite a life prison sentence

    Canada News CTV News
    Pamela Grieve met the man who would become her fiancé through an online profile. Then she went on a blind date with him. Yes, nothing unusual there. But this is a very different love story. Source
  • Alta. RCMP officer charged with 2 counts of sexual assault, breach of trust

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An Alberta Mountie has been charged with sexual assault and other offences following an investigation by the province's police watchdog. Susan Hughson, with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, said the allegations involve three women in separate incidents. Source
  • Venezuela court says it can take over congress' powers

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled it can take over the powers of congress in what opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro as well as foreign governments denounced as the latest step toward installing a dictatorship in this South American nation. Source
  • Bush on Trump speech: 'That was some weird s---'

    World News Toronto Sun
    Former President George W. Bush was throwing shade at Donald Trump at the billionaire’s inauguration. According to New York Magazine, when Trump finished his speech - loaded with terms like “American carnage” - the former commander-in-chief dropped decorum. Source
  • Lock laundry chutes: Jury comes back with 1 recommendation in Machiskinic inquest

    Canada News CBC News
    The jury for the coroner's inquest into the death of a woman who fell down a Regina hotel laundry chute has concluded her manner of death is "undetermined." That's contrary to the finding of a chief coroner, who concluded it was an accident. Source
  • Brothers who tip scales at 1,350 lbs. ready to lose weight

    World News Toronto Sun
    Two junk food-loving brothers who weigh a staggering 1,350 lbs. combined are meeting a weight-loss whiz to drop the pounds. Steven Assanti, 33, weighs 749 lbs. and was once kicked out of a hospital for ordering a pizza. Source
  • Israeli cabinet approves 1st new settlement in 2 decades

    World News CBC News
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet has approved Israel's first new settlement in two decades to compensate for the court-ordered demolition of a settler outpost. Netanyahu said late Thursday the decision passed unanimously to replace Amona, honouring a promise he made after it was destroyed earlier this year. Source
  • Officials warn about ice jam runoff causing floodwaters to rise in Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG - Flood officials say ice jams and spring runoff are causing water to rise across much of southern Manitoba. The Red River is expected to crest in Winnipeg this weekend and officials say ice may prevent them from operating the floodway which diverts water around the capital. Source
  • Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum sentenced to one year in prison for corruption

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was sentenced Thursday to one year behind bars on corruption-related charges and then promised he would emerge a better man when released. He also received two years’ probation. Applebaum, 54, was handcuffed before he addressed the court and told the judge he would be a model inmate. Source
  • Ousted South Korean president jailed over corruption allegations

    World News CBC News
    A South Korean court on Friday approved a warrant to arrest ousted president Park Geun-hye, the country's first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office, on accusations of bribery and abuse of power. Source