Vladimir Putin On Mitt Romney: ‘We Can Work Together’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is happy to work with Mitt Romney if the GOP presidential candidate is elected US president in November but hinted that he would not stretch to appease Washington.
Speaking in an interview with Russia’s RT television network, Putin argued that the relationship between the two countries would depend mainly on the United States. It is not yet known whether the US under Romney would be quite so accommodating. Previously, Romney has accused President Barack Obama of being soft on Moscow and, in December 2011, described Putin as “a threat to global peace.”
When Putin was asked on Tuesday whether Russia could work with Romney, the Russian leader replied, “We can. We will work with whomever the American people elect. But we will work as effectively as our partners want.” The full interview is due to be aired on the RT network on Thursday.
Moscow and Washington relations were badly dented after Russia’s 2008 war with the pro-Western Georgia, but the election of Barack Obama later that year saw ties renewed between the two world giants. A nuclear arms treaty was signed in 2010 with then-president Dmitry Medvedev.
However, other issues have since created tensions between the two countries. Russia’s refusal to support military aid or intervention in Syria (while selling weapons to besieged Syrian President Bashir al-Assad) have not helped relations, and Putin is reportedly displeased with US missile defense plans and US criticism of the jailing of Russian band Pussy Riot.
At the Republican convention at which he was nominated the party’s candidate last month, Romney said he would bring “less flexibility and more backbone” to US policy on Russia if he ends up in the White House on November 7, 2012.