Putin Urges ‘Pragmatic Cooperation’ in New Year Wishes to Trump

Russia's President Putin and US President Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for “pragmatic cooperation” in his New Year wishes to U.S. President Donald Trump, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

In a statement on the Russian president’s New Year wishes to world leaders, the Kremlin said Mr. Putin told Mr. Trump that “a constructive Russian-American dialogue is especially needed to strengthen strategic stability in the world.”

According to the statement, Mr. Putin said that “mutual respect” should be “a base to develop relations” between the two countries.

“This would allow us to move towards building pragmatic cooperation, orientated on the long term,” the statement quoted Mr. Putin as saying.

The Russian president also sent messages to other heads of state, including the leaders of former Soviet countries, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

In his wishes to the Syrian leader, with whom he met with during a surprise visit to Russia’s Syrian air base Hmeimim earlier this month, Mr. Putin “expressed sincere hope that key changes for the better will continue in Syria in the new year.”

The statement added that Mr. Putin told Mr. Assad “Russia will continue to show all kind of support to the Syrian Arab Republic in order to protect its state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”

Russia became involved in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, when it began an aerial campaign in support of Mr. Assad’s military. Mr. Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of the Russian army from Syria earlier this month.