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Kremlin says Trump invited Putin to White House

President Trump floated hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin for a White House summit, the Kremlin said Monday. Mr. Trump recently suggested the two might meet soon to "discuss the arms race," after he congratulated Putin on his reelection late last month.  But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied plans for such a meeting were being made yet and no major international summits are slated until November.

"Trump proposed holding a meeting at the White House in Washington," Putin's top foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, told reporters. Ushakov said the invitation had been extended by Mr. Trump during his phone call with Putin on March 20, but he also added that the two sides have not had any "concrete discussions" about a summit since their phone conversation.

Trump threatens arms race with Putin 07:56

"It was Trump himself who proposed holding the meeting," Ushakov said. "But after that, a new breakdown in our bilateral ties has taken place, the diplomats have been expelled."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the Kremlin's comments on Monday in a statement saying, "As the President himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the 'not-too-distant future' at a number of potential venues, including the White House. We have nothing further to add at this time."

During the call, Mr. Trump congratulated Putin on his reelection, although National Security Council staffers had recommended that he avoid doing so, given the accusations of ballot stuffing in the Russian election.   

Since the phone call, the Trump administration joined other allied nations in punishing Russia over the allegation that the Kremlin was behind the chemical attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats and ordered the shuttering of the Russian consulate in Seattle. Moscow responded in kind, sending home 60 U.S. diplomats and closing Washington's consulate in Saint Petersburg.

Ushakov still hopes that Russia and the United States can return to "constructive and serious dialogue."

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