Vladimir Putin is heading into the new year with hopes that Russia and the US can move toward a "pragmatic cooperation" that will allow them to work together over the long haul. Per the Kremlin, that's the gist of the New Year's message the Russian president sent over to his US counterpart, telling President Trump that a "mutual respect" is what's needed as "a base to develop relations," the AP and AFP report. "The development [of] a constructive Russian-US dialogue is particularly important for strengthening strategic stability in the world and finding the optimal answers to global threats and challenges," Putin is said to have added.
The AP notes that Putin's message comes at a time when relations between the US and Russia are the worst since the Cold War era, in part due to Russia's occupation of Crimea and its interference in the US election. Putin also sent end-of-year correspondence to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, expressing "sincere hope that key changes for the better will continue in Syria in the new year" and vowing to "show all kind of support" to Syria in its efforts to "protect its state sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity."