Russia urges Trump to seize chance to reset ties after probe finds no evidence of collusion

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) – Russia urged US President Donald Trump to take the opportunity to reset relations after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.

“There’s a chance to renew much in our relations, but the question is whether Trump will take the risk,” Mr Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international relations committee in the Upper House of Parliament, wrote on Monday (March 25) on Facebook.

“We, of course, are ready. And I suggest starting with the most acute issues: the START and INF agreements” limiting nuclear weapons, he said.

Mr Mueller’s report “proved what Russia knew from the very beginning: there was no collusion between Trump and anyone in his team and the Kremlin”, Mr Kosachyov wrote.

Still, Russia has no reason to celebrate the outcome of the inquiry after two years in which relations suffered huge damage and “the accusations against us remain”.

While the Mueller report confirmed Russia meddled in the 2016 election, the Kremlin continues to deny that.

Mr Trump scored the biggest political victory of his presidency on Sunday after Attorney-General William Barr published a summary of Mr Mueller’s assessment that there was no collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The President tweeted in response that he’s received “Complete and Total EXONERATION” and called the 22-month inquiry into Russian interference “an illegal takedown that failed”.

Russia has dismissed allegations of collusion with the Trump campaign. US intelligence agencies concluded, however, that Russia was behind hacking aimed at damaging Democratic Party contender Hillary Clinton and boosting Mr Trump’s chances of winning the election.

Mr Trump pledged during his campaign to improve ties with Russia and has repeatedly said he wants good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Now that Mr Mueller has reported, “we’ll have to make a long-term deal with Trump anyway”, Mr Kosachyov wrote. “His chances for re-election after yesterday look much better.”

An initial test could be whether Mr Trump renews his pledge to invite Mr Putin to the White House.

The US made the offer after the leaders’ first summit in Helsinki last July, but later said the meeting would be delayed until after Mr Mueller’s investigation was completed.

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