Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is always ready for dialogue with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.
"As for my relations with Barack Obama, I have no reason whatsoever to believe he is not willing to talk to the President of Russia. But ultimately, it is his choice. I am always ready for dialogue, and I think that dialogue is the best way to bridge any gaps," Putin said in an interview with the French media.
The Russian president offered his comments in response to a correspondent's words that Obama, who will soon visit France to attend the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings in Normandy along with other foreign leaders, including Putin,"apparently does not want to speak to" Putin.
Putin said that he and Obama "have been in contact until now, we have talked on the telephone regularly."
"Problems between countries always exist, especially between such big countries as Russia and the United States. There have always been some issues, but I don't think we should go to extremes. At any rate, it wouldn't be our choice. I'm always willing to talk to any of my partners, including President Obama," the Russian leader said.
When commenting on the suggestions that "the United States is trying to surround Russia, to make Putin weaker as a leader", Putin said that "Russia is the biggest country in the world. It would be very difficult to surround it, and the world is changing so fast that it would basically be impossible, even in theory."
"Of course, we can see attempts by the United States to pressure their allies by employing their obvious leadership in the Western community, in order to influence Russia's policy," he said.
"Russia's policy is based solely on its national interests," Putin said.
"Of course, we take the opinions of our partners into account but we are guided by the interests of the Russian people," Putin added.
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