Donald Trump has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House for a visit, according to a statement from the Kremlin.
Yury Ushakov, an aide to the Russian leader, told reporters on Monday that during a March 20 phone conversation Mr Trump “suggested that the first meeting could be held in Washington” between the two leaders.
He continued: “If everything goes well, I hope that the American side would not refuse its proposal to discuss the possibility of organizing the summit talks.”
The White House provided confirmation of the Kremlin’s announcement, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, issuing a statement which emphasised that no date had been set.
“As the president himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House," she said.
"We have nothing further to add at this time.”
Days in office for Russian leaders
Mr Ushakov later said that Moscow hopes for "a serious and constructive dialogue," noting that no preparations have yet begun.
It is not the first time that Mr Trump has raised the possibility of a White House meeting. Last summer he said that he hoped to invite Mr Putin to Washington – although he noted that, at that point, a meeting was not on the cards.
"I don’t think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," he said, in July.
"Look, it’s very easy for me to say absolutely, I won’t. That’s the easy thing for me to do, but that’s the stupid thing to do.
"If you don’t have dialogue, you have to be fools. Fools. It would be the easiest thing for me to say I will never speak to him, and everybody would love me. But I have to do what’s right."
Monday’s news of a possible White House encounter follows Mr Trump’s congratulations extended to Mr Putin on his re-election, despite his staff telling him explicitly not to.
On the same phone call he was expected to raise the issue of the suspected poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil – something he failed to do.
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