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US Side Shows Lack of Initiative in Organizing Trump-Putin Meeting – Kremlin

© AP Photo / Jorge Silva/Pool PhotoU.S. President Donald Trump, center right, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center left, talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump, center right, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center left, talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kremlin notes the lack of initiative and concrete proposals by the US side in organizing a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"There is still a lack of concrete proposals. After the latest phone talks between Putin and Trump, during which the two leaders expressed their understanding for the need for a meeting, we still note the lack of initiative on behalf of our US partners," Peskov told reporters.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources that the White House was in the early stages of planning a meeting between the US and Russian leaders, but no date or location had been agreed upon. The media outlet later reported citing an unnamed US administration official that Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman was in Washington to arrange the meeting.

On Possible Kim Jong-un to Russia

According to Peskov, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov handed over an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit Russia, the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) could be a possible occasion for the visit.

"During our foreign minister Lavrov's contacts in Pyongyang, he gave Kim Jong-un an invitation to visit Russia, and indeed the Eastern Economic Forum was named as one of the possible occasions for such visit," Peskov told reporters when asked whether there were plans for Putin's meeting with Kim at the forum.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in Pyongyang - Sputnik International
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Kim and Lavrov met late last month. Diplomatic sources told Sputnik earlier in the day that Russian President Putin could meet with Kim on the sidelines of EEF, which will take place in Vladivostok in September. However, the spokesman told reporters, that "there are no plans" for Putin and Kim to meet earlier, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in China in June.

On NATO Activity Near Russia's Borders

"Moscow watches closely all the maneuvers held within the NATO framework, especially the ones that at some point are held near our borders," Peskov told reporters answering a question if Moscow was concerned over the Saber Strike 2018 multinational exercise held by NATO.

The Kremlin official added that the relevant Russian agencies exert efforts to ensure the protection of the nation against the backdrop of the NATO steps.

U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
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NATO has significantly increased its presence in Eastern Europe after the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, using the alleged Russian interference in Ukrainian internal affairs as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly voiced its protest over NATO's military buildup, saying that it will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.

According to the US Department of Defense, the Saber Strike 2018 that started on Sunday will continue until June 15 in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. About 18,000 people representing 19 states are participating in the drills.

On Importance of G8 to G20

Kremlin spokesman also stressed, that G20, where Russia is involved, is becoming increasingly important, while the G8 format is growing old.

"The importance of this format [G8], from the point of view of the Russian side, is decreasing… Because in the changing situation, in terms of international politics and economy, the significance and importance of such formats as G20, in which Russia is actively participating, is growing," Peskov told reporters, when asked if Russia wanted to or could return to G8.

READ MORE: WCO Suggests G20 as Platform to Address US Decision on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

The spokesman refused to speculate on whether Russia would return to the format if invited back in. "The hypothetical musings are hardly possible here," Peskov said.

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