RT News

Vladimir Putin is pragmatic enough to accept Donald Trump placing US national interests above all else but, to build a mutually beneficial relationship, he expects his counterpart to respect Russia’s, Dmitry Peskov told RT.

Ahead of the much-anticipated summit between the Russian and US leaders in Helsinki, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov sat down with RT for an exclusive interview, in which he touched upon Donald Trump’s seemingly controversial but very natural ‘America first’ motto.

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“This principle works for any head of state. Any head of state, when talking to their foreign counterparts, has to take care of the interests of their state. And our president is quite pragmatic, quite consistent, quite practical. He always says that he cares about the national interests of Russia, above everything else. That’s why he understands the reciprocal beliefs of Donald Trump, as applied to his country,” Peskov said.

At the same time, in global politics, such an approach would never work properly and tends to result in isolation, unless complemented by a principle of mutual respect and of recognizing a partner’s interests.

“This approach has to be based on commitment to develop mutually beneficial co-operation, which takes into account the interests of other countries as well. All these factors added together can create a proper environment for developing co-operation,”Putin’s spokesman emphasized. “This is what we hope to achieve at this summit. We hope this will be a baby step towards overcoming the current critical situation in our bilateral relations.”

As leaders of two major powers, Trump and Putin obviously respect each other and “get along well,” Peskov said, noting that the US president repeatedly refersto his Russian counterpart as a “competitor” and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“Competition is a positive phenomenon I would say. Competition helps the world to develop. But there is a ‘but.’ Competition has to be fair. We need fair competition in politics, in the economy. This helps all the global processes develop,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we see that competition is not always fair,” Peskov added, particularly singling out Washington’s economic pressure on its European partners.

While Putin and Trump during their Helsinki rendezvous are expected to discuss a wide range of issues in which there was at least a trace of potential compromise and common ground, there was no strict agenda and no concrete plans for any joint statement after the talks yet, Peskov noted. However, he reassured those wary of what they might agree upon behind closed doors, including some fearing they could “agree on Europe over the heads of Europeans.”

“Russia and the United States have a special responsibility for maintaining strategic stability and security in the world, our two countries specifically,” Peskov stated. “So common sense tells us that the countries of the world, especially European countries, should be interested in the normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington.”