In Moscow, US senator hopes for 'new day' in US-Russia relations



The U.S. lawmakers are in Russia in the build-up to a planned summit in Helsinki between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, TASS news agency reported.

A delegation of United States lawmakers met with Russia's top diplomat in Moscow on Tuesday in an effort to boost relations as the U.S. and Russian presidents are set to meet in two weeks.

For his part, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin welcomed the delegation and thanked USA ambassador in Russia Jon Huntsman for the "initiative of inter-parliamentary dialogue". When asked by reporters Saturday whether he would consider recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea, Trump said that "we'll have to see".

The Kremlin said Putin did not plan to meet US lawmakers who are visiting Russian Federation this week.

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Lavrov congratulated the congressmen on the upcoming Independence Day in the U.S. He expressed "my real hope that your visit would symbolize the resumption of relations between our two parliaments". Left unsaid was that the move would also likely require removing top Russian lawmakers from a "blacklist" imposed previous year.

The U.S. has been strongly opposed to Russia's actions in Crimea. The U.S. congressional delegation is scheduled to meet with senior Russian officials amid preparations for a summit between the nations' presidents.

Yet the coming summit has fueled concerns among Trump critics in Washington, who raise concerns over an ongoing investigation into his campaign's ties to Russian surrogates amid the 2016 presidential election.

Most recently, the USA leader angered European leaders when he reportedly suggested last month that he may be willing to reverse US policy and recognize Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from neighboring Ukraine. Trump pulled the US out of the deal earlier this year.

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