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Trump uses call with Putin to float Idea of ​​visit to the White House

MOSCOW-U.S. President

Donald Trump

recently raised the idea of ​​inviting the Russian counterpart

Vladimir Putin

To the White House, the Kremlin said on Monday, placing the relationship between the two leaders at the front and center amid worsening relations between Washington and Moscow.

Mr. Trump made the suggestion in a phone call with Mr. Putin last month without giving a time frame for a possible meeting, Kremlin foreign policy adviser

Yuri Ushakov

he said in comments to the Russian news agencies. The call of March 20 followed Putin's election victory but also the Russian poisoning of a former spy with a neuralgic agent in the United Kingdom, an attack that provoked widespread condemnation, even from the United States

. The call, Mr. Trump said he congratulated Mr. Putin on his election victory and described the conversation as a "very good call" in which they discussed the meeting to address issues such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as the threat raised by North Korea. Mr. Trump was criticized by some in Washington for the call.

"When our presidents spoke on the phone, Trump suggested that the first meeting take place in Washington, in the White House," Ushakov said Monday. "It's a sufficiently interesting and positive idea," he said.

The White House said there was no news in the Kremlin statement.

"As the president himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last visit to President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in a" not too distant future "in a number of possible places, including the White House , "Press Secretary

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

He said. "We have nothing more to add at this time."

Since the call between the two leaders, relations between the United States and Russia have worsened amid the consequences of the poisoning in early March of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in the United Kingdom London blamed the Kremlin for the attack, which used a chemical nerve agent of the Soviet era, an accusation that Russia denies.

The United States, in solidarity with the United Kingdom, expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed a Russian consulate in Seattle.

Moscow took similar measures in return, expelling US diplomats and closing a US consulate. UU In St. Petersburg.

Mssrs. Trump and Putin met during the G20 summit last year in Germany and again in the framework of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November last year.

Write to Thomas Grove at thomas.grove@wsj.com

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