This combo photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and US President Joe Biden. (PHOTOS / AP)
A Kremlin senior official said on Sunday a possible summit between the Russian and US presidents is likely to be held in June despite current tensions between the two countries.
The White House had announced United States President Joe Biden put forward the idea of holding the summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin "in a third country in the coming months" after the two leaders had a phone conversation on April 13. Later, Biden specified he had offered his Russian counterpart a meeting this summer in Europe.
In an interview with the Rossiya-1 TV channel, the Kremlin's top foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, said they received signals from Washington on plans to hold the meeting of the leaders.
The two presidents are likely to hold a meeting in June, but the final decision will depend on many factors, Ushakov said. He said the Kremlin and White House have not started discussions on the summit at a working level.
But Ushakov revealed the two sides have suggested "particular dates in June".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Ushakov in the same program with Russian TV, saying Moscow is upbeat about Washington's proposal on holding the meeting between the presidents, and is now considering this possibility.
A European host?
Russia's Kommersant daily, citing unnamed sources, said Biden had offered to meet Putin on June 15-16 in a European country.
Austria and Finland have expressed interest in hosting a possible meeting between the two leaders. Putin and then-US President Donald Trump held a summit in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, in July 2018.
In an interview with the Rossiya-1 TV channel, the Kremlin's top foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, said they received signals from Washington on plans to hold the meeting of the leaders
The proposal was raised by Biden amid significantly souring Russian-US relations after Biden said in an interview that Moscow would have to "pay a price" for allegedly interfering in US elections and called Putin "a killer".
On April 15, the White House announced more sanctions against Russia. Moscow retaliated with tit-for-tat moves on April 16.
In the TV show, Lavrov said Russia is prepared to take new retaliatory measures against the US if Washington stays on the path of escalation.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday the country has launched an effort to create a list of unfriendly states, and the US is among them. She said Putin signed a decree on Friday on countermeasures to unfriendly actions of foreign states.
"What are these unfriendly states? The list is being drawn up now. As we know, the whole story began with another wave of unfriendly US steps. As you understand and I can confirm this, naturally, the US is on this list," she said.
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