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Kremlin: Putin ready to meet with Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to meet US President Donald Trump but preparations for the possible meeting may take months, not weeks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States yesterday after winning the presidential contest against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Russia-US relations were at their lowest since the Cold War under Barack Obama administration, with tensions around conflict in Ukraine and the Syrian crisis.

"This will not be in coming weeks, let's hope for the best – that the meeting will happen in the coming months," Peskov told the BBC, according to TASS.

Some of Trump's opponents believe the Kremlin helped him win the White House by staging a hacking campaign to hoover up embarrassing information about Clinton, his rival.

The Kremlin denies that, saying that the US Democratic Party used hacking allegations as an excuse for losing to Trump.

Putin and other high-ranked Russian officials have publicly praised Trump, expecting him to lift US sanctions on Moscow, first put in place in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Peskov said that it would be "a big mistake" to think that Russia-US relations will be "free of contradictions and disputes," during a Trump presidency.

"We indeed are the two biggest countries in the world. And we can't live without frictions, conflict of interests," Peskov was quoted by Interfax as saying today.

Though conflicting accounts and statements do exist, it appears that Russia has invited the United States to take part in the upcoming Syria peace conference slated to take place in two days in the Kazakhstani capital Astana.

Trump has previously and on several occasions suggested that his approach to Syria would be to not prioritise toppling the regime of dictator Bashar Al-Assad, but to focus on defeating Daesh.

In his inaugural address at the steps of the Capitol yesterday, Trump reiterated his pledge to destroy "radical Islamic terrorism", framing it as a civilizational struggle without identifying exactly which Islamic groups he considered radicals, and which were moderates.

"We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth," President Trump said.

The newly enthroned US president's views on placing a priority on defeating extremist Muslim groups as opposed to extremist secular anti-democratic dictatorships such as the Assad regime appears to therefore be in line with the Russian president's thinking.

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