Putin Says He Invited Trump to Moscow as US Officials Delay Second Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said he invited President Donald Trump to come to Moscow and added that he’s “ready” to go to Washington for a second meeting after their summit in Helsinki.

“We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. He has, by the way, such an invitation, I told him about it,” Putin said at an economic summit in South Africa, according to NBC News.

He added that he’s “ready to come to Washington if appropriate conditions for work are created.”

Putin explained that during his summit with Trump, both leaders talking about a slew of issues that “concern very many countries around the world and, including, all of Europe,” and he praised Trump’s “great virtue” of keeping his promises to voters.

“You can critique him for what he does and many people do that but one thing is clear – he is willing to fulfill his campaign promises,” Putin said, according to CNN.

The Kremlin has previously avoided a straight answer about whether Putin would accept Trump’s invitation for a second summit in Washington, and early reports out of the Helsinki summit said no plans were made for another meeting any time soon.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump is open to heading to Moscow and plans to host Putin in Washington next year.

“President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” she said in a statement on Friday.

But Putin’s comments come days after Trump administration officials announced that the second meeting with Putin would be delayed until next year when the Russia investigation has ended.

“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Wednesday.

Trump was widely criticized on both sides of the aisle for his summit with Putin, during which he lashed out at the Russia probe and threw doubt on U.S. intelligence community findings that confirm Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

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