"I have repeatedly said that we are ready [for bilateral meetings], that there are issues, which must be jointly addressed… we need to discuss the problem of North Korea, the situation in Afghanistan, and many other issues. Finally, we need to discuss our bilateral relations. We are interested in this, as well as our US partners", Putin said at his annual press conference.
Putin expressed hope for an improvement in Russia-US relations in the future.
"I hope that something will get better, but in the end we will reach the bottom of our relationship, and we will understand that we need to rise, we need to push off from this bottom, rise, take a breath of fresh air and think clearly how to live further", the president stressed.
Putin noted that he does not know whether Trump will be able to start a direct dialogue with Russia under current conditions.
"We see what is happening there. Now the leadership in the Congress will change. We can forecast with nearly 100-percent accuracy that there will be new attacks on the incumbent president. I do not know whether he will be able to start a direct dialogue with Russia in these conditions. You should ask them", Putin said.
Putin added that the US establishment still refuses to recognise Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election and called this "disrespect for voters".
Russia is ready to build relations with the United States when Washington is also ready for this, according to Putin.
"Whatever happens, we still need to build bilateral relations. We are ready for this — as soon as possible. As soon as the other side is ready, we will do it", the president stressed.
Putin and Trump were slated to meet during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, however, the US president called off the talks over the incident in the Kerch Strait that had occurred just a week before the summit, when three ships of the Ukrainian Navy had breached the Russian maritime border. All the vessels were later detained by the Russian border guards after failing to respond to a lawful demand to stop.
According to Moscow, the incident was a provocation, aimed at creating a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine, as well as imposing sanctions against Russia.