— -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone today for the first time since Trump won the presidential election last week, with Putin congratulating the New York businessman and expressing hope of improved U.S.-Russian relations, according to the Kremlin and Trump’s transition team.
Both sides said the call discussed economic issues, but the Kremlin’s statement went further, saying the pair labeled “international terrorism and extremism" as "the number one common enemy” and agreed to work together to combat that threat. Putin’s office also said the two discussed “issues related to solving the crisis in Syria.”
According to the Kremlin, the two leaders would maintain contact and eventually arrange a face-to-face meeting. The Trump camp did not mention the possibility of future contact.
After an election in which federal agencies said Russia had hacked American political organizations in order to interfere with the election process, the Kremlin said Putin told Trump “he was ready to develop a dialogue of partnership with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.” The statement from Trump’s team did not mention this detail.
Trump expressed to Putin that he was “very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia,” according to the press release from Trump’s team.
During the election, Trump praised Putin as “strong” and “a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” which Democrats criticized because of Putin’s authoritarian leadership.