The presidents of Russia and the United States will speak by phone this weekend, the Kremlin has said, a first step toward what Donald Trump has billed as a normalisation of relations. Matthew Larotonda reports.
It could be the most important phone call of the year. New U.S. President Donald Trump will speak with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin has announced, A first step toward Trump's promised warming of ties between the two countries, For years the backers of opposing forces in the conflicts of Ukraine and Syria. Trump is also expected to call Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, that day. That call also focusing on Russia, according to a source in Berlin. President Trump has said he's open to a deal with Moscow to lift sanctions imposed during the Obama administration. A move likely to be opposed by some members of his own Republican party and foreign allies including Merkel. Especially after those reports by U.S. intelligence services that Russia sought to influence the election in his favour, Partly, they say, through cyber espionage against opponent Hillary Clinton. An allegation Trump's denied. His nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State has also drawn criticism, the former Exxon boss having close ties to Russia's establishment. News of the upcoming phone call also comes amid reports the White House is considering significant cuts to its United Nations contributions. With Western diplomats concerned Russia will step in to fill the leadership gap. Putin and Trump last spoke in November, when the Russian leader called Trump to congratulate him on his election victory.