Administration

Trump offered Putin US assistance fighting wildfires in Siberia, Kremlin says

President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone Wednesday to offer assistance in fighting forest fires raging in the eastern parts of the country, according to the Kremlin.

Moscow issued a statement that said Putin thanked Trump for the offer, saying he would accept assistance if needed. Russia recently engaged its military resources in fighting the flames, which have engulfed whole swaths of Siberia.{mosads}

The two leaders agreed to remain in contact through phone calls and face to face meetings, according to the Kremlin.

The White House has not responded to a request for comment about the call and has not issued a statement about the conversation.

The White House confirmed in a statement late Wednesday that Trump spoke with Putin “and expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia.” The two men also discussed trade.

Putin on Wednesday deployed Russia’s military to fight the fires, which have spread across 30,000 square kilometers in Siberia and the far east reaches of Russia, The Associated Press reported. Military planes and helicopters are being used to drop water on the fires

The fires were reportedly ignited by lightning strikes. No injuries or evacuations have been reported, though there are concerns about smoke worsening air quality.

Wednesday’s phone call marked the first time Trump and Putin have spoken since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller told two House committees that Russia systematically sought to meddle in the 2016 election to aid Trump, and that it would seek to interfere in future elections. He also testified that his official report did not exonerate Trump of wrongdoing, despite the president’s repeated assertions to the contrary.

Updated at 10:27 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump forest fires Kremlin Robert Mueller Russia Siberia Vladimir Putin wildfires
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