A top Kremlin aide on Tuesday said Russia is not ready to accept President Trump’s invitation to a second summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the U.S.
Yuri Ushakov said Russia agrees there should be another meeting, but did not formally agree to the White House’s fall invitation.
“After the summit, you know what kind of atmosphere there is around its outcome,” Ushakov said, according to a Reuters report. “I think it would be wise to let the dust settle and then we can discuss all these questions in a business-like way. But not now.”
Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that preparations are underway for a meeting with Putin in Washington, D.C., this fall.
“I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more,” Trump tweeted on July 19.
Though Sanders and Trump have called last week’s summit in Helsinki, Finland, a success, there has been fierce bipartisan backlash for the president’s comments during a joint press conference with Putin.
Trump appeared to cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and said he didn’t know why Russia “would” interfere.
He later recanted, claiming he meant to say “wouldn’t” and affirming his belief in U.S. intelligence, but lawmakers have continued to come out publicly against his remarks.
The two leaders also held a private meeting prior to the press conference that lasted more than two hours, according to The Washington Post. The Post also reported that many top administration officials were unaware of what Trump promised Putin in the one-on-one meeting.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marina Zakharova said last week that the Kremlin is already working to implement undisclosed agreements from the summit.
“A lot of what the president of the Russian Federation talked about is now being worked through,” she said, the Post reported. “Relevant instructions are being carried out, and diplomats are beginning to work on the outcomes.”
According to Reuters, Anatoly Antonov Russia’s ambassador to the United States, last Friday said Russia is willing to “discuss” a second meeting, but did not specify any follow-through.
Ushakov said there are other opportunities for the leaders to meet.
“There are other options (to meet) which our leaders can look at,” Ushakov said, according to Reuters. “Maybe there will be other international events which Trump and Putin will take part in.”
He mentioned the November meeting of Group of 20 leaders in Argentina, which Trump and Putin are both slated to attend.