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

  • Video captures midair brawl on American Airlines flight

    World News CTV News
    A midair brawl on an American Airlines flight from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Miami was captured on video by one of the flight’s passengers. The incident, which happened last Wednesday, allegedly began when a flight attendant refused to serve more alcohol to a passenger who has since been identified as Jason Felix. Source
  • Edmonton man gored by bison in 'terrifying' attack

    Canada News CTV News
    An Edmonton man who was gored by a wild bison says he’s fortunate the animal only pierced his rear and not a vital organ. "Although it was a bad situation, I feel pretty lucky," Craig Neilson told CTV Edmonton. Source
  • Man in custody after swastikas found painted on gravestones

    World News CTV News
    GLEN CARBON, Ill. - Authorities in southwestern Illinois say a suspect is in custody after swastikas were found spray-painted on several homes and dozens of grave markers at a nearby cemetery. Edwardsville police announced on Facebook that a 34-year-old man was apprehended on Saturday. Source
  • Trump's 'phony' source is, in fact, a White House official

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump accused The New York Times on Saturday of inventing a source for a story who, in fact, was a White House official conducting a briefing for reporters under the condition that the official not be named. Source
  • 'A day of relief': Irish expats who flew home for abortion vote delighted by results

    World News CTV News
    Irish voters overwhelmingly came out to repeal a 35-year-old constitutional ban on abortions Friday, with 66.4 per cent casting “yes” ballots in the historic referendum. An untold number of those votes were cast by young Irish women currently living abroad, like Ciara Coogan, who travelled home from where she works in France to participate. Source
  • Freeman says he used jokes and compliments to make women feel 'at ease'

    World News CBC News
    Morgan Freeman says he likes to compliment people to make them feel at ease around him, but that he has never sexually assaulted women. The Academy Award-winning actor is fighting back against charges of bad behaviour made by multiple women in a CNN report this week. Source
  • Real Madrid captures 3rd straight Champions League title

    World News CBC News
    Real Madrid won its third consecutive Champions League title with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday. Gareth Bale scored a brace for Los Merengues, including the go-ahead bicycle kick after entering as a substitute. Source
  • Poutine war: Toronto festival feuds with chain over discounted eats

    Canada News CTV News
    A poutine festival in Toronto is at odds with a popular chain after it offered discounted eats during the festival rather than participate in it. The Toronto Poutine Fest runs from May 24-27 at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. Source
  • Motive still a mystery as police seek Ontario restaurant bombers

    Canada News CBC News
    The owner of Bombay Bhel will spend part of his Saturday meeting with Peel police as officers continue to investigate the explosion that injured 15 inside of his Mississauga, Ont., restaurant. Police allege that on Thursday night at about 10:30 p.m. Source
  • Horwath says political attacks she is facing make voters cynical about politics

    Canada News CBC News
    Ontario's Liberal leader insists her attacks on the New Democrats are different from those of the Progressive Conservatives, though both are labelling the poll-leading party as "radical". On Friday, the Progressive Conservatives alleged an NDP candidate in east Toronto, Tasleem Riaz, had made offensive comments online, including a post from 2013 misquoting Adolf Hitler, and a release sent by the Liberals on Saturday morning cites the post and describes the New Democrats as "too risky, too…