Trump to hold telephonic conversation with Putin today

Trump to hold telephonic conversation with Putin today

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will speak with Russia's Vladimir Putin by phone Tuesday as the two leaders look to make headway on ties in the face of deep rifts over Syria and alleged hacking.

Both the White House and Kremlin confirmed the leaders will hold their third call since Trump took office but did not give details on the topics of discussion. The talks are scheduled for 1630 GMT.

Trump's rise to power sparked hope in Moscow that US-Russian relations would improve after they slumped to a post-Cold War low over the Kremlin's 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

But expectations have waned that Trump will make good on pledges to resurrect ties as allegations Putin spearheaded a hacking and influence campaign to get him elected have made the issue politically toxic in Washington.

The US leader further infuriated the Kremlin by launching a missile strike last month in Syria against the forces of Russia's ally Bashar al-Assad over an alleged chemical weapons attack.

Trump has already spoken by telephone twice with Putin since taking office in January, with the two leaders discussing ways to combat Islamic State group.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Putin in Moscow last month amid reports that the two sides are looking to line up a meeting between their leaders in the coming weeks.

US ties with Russia are under scrutiny after US intelligence agencies said hackers directed by the Kremlin accessed the Democratic National Committee networks ahead of the election that put Trump in the White House.

The FBI is probing any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government. The Pentagon is probing Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, over payments received from Russian government-linked firms. (APP)