- The Russian president, speaking ahead of a meeting with Pompeo.
- Pompeo urged Russia to end support for President Nicolas Maduro.
- US decision to unilaterally withdraw from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement meant to rein in the country’s nuclear programme.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would like to “fully restore” relations with the United States and believes that his US counterpart Donald Trump wants to do the same.
Putin on Tuesday told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he came to that conclusion after a phone call with Trump a few days ago.
The Russian president, speaking ahead of a meeting with Pompeo, also said that his country had not interfered in US elections.
Earlier, Pompeo met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in hopes of finding common grounds in strategic issues over Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.
At a joint news conference following the meeting, Pompeo urged Russia to end support for President Nicolas Maduro, but his call was flatly rejected by Moscow.
“The time has come for Nicolas Maduro to go, he has brought nothing but misery to the Venezuelan people, and we hope that Russian support for Maduro will end,” Pompeo said.
The US along with about 50 other countries, backs the opposition movement led by Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January.
For his part, Lavrov said Maduro’s future should be decided by the Venezuelan people and called US pressure on him undemocratic.
Speaking on Iran, Russia’s ally, Lavrov said that Russia and the US “have many differences” and criticized the US decision to unilaterally withdraw from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement meant to rein in the country’s nuclear programme.
Pompeo said that the US will respond appropriately to any Iranian attacks on US interests, in an apparent reference to the Iranian military’s threat to shut the strategic strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.
The US secretary, however, added that his country did not “seek war with Iran”.