Donald Trump congratulates Vladimir Putin on inauguration, hopes for good friendship with Russia

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 08, 2018, 07:53 AM IST

File photo of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Photograph:(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump on Monday congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on his inauguration for another six-year term, the White House said.

"The president congratulates him and looks forward to a time when we can hopefully have a good relationship with Russia. However, the United States believes that everyone has a right to be heard and assemble peacefully," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday.

President Vladimir Putin travelled to his inauguration on Monday for a new six-year term in a Russian-made limousine, ditching his old stretch Mercedes to send a patriotic message of self-sufficiency amid increased tensions with the West.

Putin, in power since 2000, wants Russia to reduce its dependence on imported goods and technology, a drive that has gathered pace since Russia was hit by Western sanctions.

Some guests broke into applause at the sight of the car conveying Putin the short distance from his office to the Kremlin hall for the inauguration, Russian news agencies said.

Putin's fourth term comes after he won the presidential election in March, capturing 76 per cent votes. Government members, State Duma deputies and senators, heads of the presidential administration, judges of the Constitutional Court, the diplomatic corps and other officials are obligatorily present at the ceremony. 

Soon after the inauguration ceremony, the Kremlin issued a statement saying that Putin had nominated Dmitry Medvedev to be prime minister in his new term. Medvedev, a loyal Putin lieutenant, has held the job since 2012.

Some Kremlin-watchers had speculated Putin might bring in a fresh face as prime minister to kick-start reforms of the sluggish economy and revive foreign investment curtailed by stand-offs with the West.

By choosing Medvedev - seen by people close to the Russian elite as a safe pair of hands whose chief quality is loyalty to his boss - Putin indicated he favoured continuity.