Trump ‘open’ to Moscow visit after Putin extends invite

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Trump has called the Helsinki summit a success and was the first to invite Mr Putin to the US

US President Donald Trump is “open” to travelling to Moscow after a surprise invite from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House has said. Mr Putin said on Friday he is ready to travel to the US under the right conditions and has invited Mr Trump to Moscow for a second meeting. The pair met last week for closed-door talks in Helsinki. The invite comes two days after the White House said it would postpone Mr Putin’s autumn visit until next year. “President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” Mrs Sanders said in a statement on Friday. Her statement was in response to Mr Putin, who earlier had said at a news conference in South Africa that he was “ready” for a follow-up meeting with President Trump. “We are ready for such meetings. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. Be my guest. He has such an invitation, I told him that,” Mr Putin said while speaking at the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) economic summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I understand perfectly that President Trump has a desire to hold further meetings, and I am ready to come to Washington if appropriate conditions for work are created.” Mr Putin did not detail what “conditions” would have to be met. He went on to praise Mr Trump, saying he “strives to fulfil the promises, above all, given to voters”. Both leaders have called the Helsinki meeting successful, and Mr Putin rounded on US summit critics earlier this month for wanting to sacrifice the US-Russia relationship over “narrow party interests”. Mr Trump drew ire at the meeting when he contradicted US intelligence agencies by backing away from blaming Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. He later said he had misspoken at the summit.