Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied media reports, claiming that Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington was going to prevail in an "arms race" with Moscow.
"No, this phrase was not said during the conversation, these reports are not true, and as to the content of the conversation — we made a statement on its results and mentioned in this message everything that was considered necessary. And the Russian side has never given publicity to the content of confidential conversations of the heads of state," Peskov said, when asked whether Trump really sounded in a conversation with Putin.
Earlier in the day, NBC News has cited White House sources, claiming that Trump said during talks, "If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I'll win."
Separately, NBC reported that Trump's national security advisers unsuccessfully tried to "motivate" Trump on Russia and persuade him that he should "be tougher" on Vladimir Putin.
"He digs in his heels. He thinks a better relationship with Russia is good for the U.S., and he really believes he can deliver it," one of the officials said.
Trump's remarks came as the US President phoned Putin to congratulate him following his victory in the March 18 presidential elections in Russia.
During the telephone conversation, the two specifically underscored the importance of making coordinated efforts to limit an arms race.
The topic was also high on the agenda of Putin's meeting with the conceding presidential candidates in Moscow on March 19, during which Putin vowed that Russia would not join a new arms race.
"We will certainly pay the necessary attention to further strengthening the country's defense capability, but I want to tell you right now: no one is going to launch some kind of an arms race," Putin pointed out.
During his state-of-the-nation address to the Federation Assembly on March 1, Putin touted Russia's new advanced strategic weapons, including the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic system.