Putin uses WW2 anniversary for bridge-building with U.S., Britain

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin sent telegrams on Friday to U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggesting the need to rekindle their nations’ cooperation during World War Two to solve today’s problems.

Putin’s overture was the latest in a series of contacts with Washington with which Moscow is keen to rebuild relations frayed over everything from election hacking allegations to Syria.

Putin and Trump say they worked closely together to clinch a global oil production cuts deal and spoke by phone on Thursday, when Trump offered to supply Russia with medical equipment to help fight the new coronavirus.

On Friday, the Kremlin said Johnson and Putin had spoken by phone, congratulating each other on the 75th anniversary of the allied victory in World War Two and expressing a readiness for dialogue and cooperation on bilateral issues.

Ties with London remain badly strained over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.

“Both sides expressed readiness to establish dialogue and cooperation on issues on the agenda of Russian-British relations, as well as in solving pressing international problems,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call.

The telegrams were among many Putin dispatched to the Soviet Union’s World War Two allies on the 75th anniversary of the end of the conflict in Europe.

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Russia, which marks the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany on May 9, the day after “Victory in Europe” Day, has been forced to scale back commemorations due to the coronavirus.

In his message to Trump, Putin said Russia and the United States now stood at the forefront of confronting global challenges. “Our countries could do a lot to ensure international security and stability,” he said.

Putin told Johnson the allies’ togetherness during World War Two was needed today and that the memory of those years could help British-Russian ties improve.

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