Senate Republicans Meet Lavrov in Moscow Ahead of Trump-Putin Summit

Andrei Makhonin  TASS

Andrei Makhonin TASS

For his part, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin welcomed the delegation and thanked U.S. ambassador in Russia Jon Huntsman for the "initiative of inter-parliamentary dialogue".

While gently encouraged by the progress made between the two countries, Peskov cautioned it was "too early" to speak of a thaw in U.S. -Russia relations, ahead of a visit to Moscow by a U.S. congressional delegation. Pushed on whether the USA was likely to recognize Russia's position, Bolton said he thought the "U.S. position is clear", but added that "the President makes the policy".

A Kremlin spokesman says that Russian President Vladimir Putin and USA president Donald Trump may meet in private during their upcoming summit in Helsinki.

"We come here realizing that we have a strained relationship, but we could have a better relationship between the USA and Russian Federation, because we have some common interests around the world that we could hopefully work together on", Shelby told Lavrov at the start of their meeting.

For the second day in a row he stressed that the two powers do not necessarily need to be adversaries, but competitors like in sports or trade. The State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry said they also discussed issues related to Syria and North Korea.

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Peskov was referring to the July 16 Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, TASS reported. When asked by reporters Saturday whether he would consider recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea, Trump said that "we'll have to see".

"I hope coming out of the Helsinki meeting between our two presidents will be the beginning of some type of better understanding".

Peskov's comments come a week after, Putin told USA national security adviser John Bolton that Russian-American relations "were not in the best shape", during a meeting in Moscow, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

The senators then met with representatives of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to a post-Cold War low over issues including Russia's seizure of Crimea in March 2014, its role in wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine, and its alleged meddling into the 2016 US presidential election.

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