President Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to normalise ties with the United States and join efforts in the fight against international “terrorism”.
Speaking in a live state-of-the-nation address, Putin said on Thursday that Russia was ready to take part in tackling global challenges – if its interests are respected.
“We don’t want confrontation with anyone,” he said in a speech before officials and lawmakers in the Kremlin.
“Unlike our foreign colleagues who are seeing Russia as an enemy, we have never been looking for enemies – we need friends,” Putin said.
“But we won’t allow any infringement on our interests and neglect of them.”
Russia’s relations with the West have plummeted to a post-Cold War low over the Ukrainian crisis and the war in Syria.
During the US election campaign, President Barack Obama’s administration accused Russia of hacking American political sites and email accounts in an effort to interfere with the vote.
The Kremlin rejected the accusations.
“In the last few years we have faced attempts of foreign pressure with all tools involved – from the myths about Russian aggression, of meddling in elections, to the hounding of our athletes,” Putin said, referring to doping scandals.
Putin said Russia is looking forward to mending ties with the US after president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
“We are ready for cooperation with the new American administration,” he said.
“It’s important to normalise and develop our bilateral ties on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. We share responsibility for ensuring global security and stability and strengthening the non-proliferation regime.”
Trump has spoken favourably of Putin, but has outlined few specifics as to how he would go about recalibrating ties with the country.
Earlier in November, Trump’s office said Putin and Trump spoke over the phone to discuss efforts to improve the relationship between Washington and Moscow.
“President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” Trump’s office said in a statement.
“During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues, including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues, and the historical US-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years.”
Putin said on Thursday that Moscow hopes to pool efforts with Washington in confronting international terrorism.
“Our servicemen in Syria are fulfilling that task,” he said.
Russia has conducted an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helping his forces to make significant gains, most recently in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the war.
Putin said Russia is open to a “friendly and equal dialogue” about global security.
He pointed to the European refugee crisis as an example of even “seemingly prosperous countries and stable regions” facing new divisions.