RUSSIA/USA – President Donald Trump has offered help to Russia in combating wildfires raging in Siberia, the Russian Embassy said on Wednesday.
During a phone call between the two leaders, Trump offered American assistance to tame the fires that have engulfed 6.7 million acres of the Siberian woods. The Russian Embassy cited a Kremlin statement that said President Vladimir Putin appreciated the gesture and would take Trump up on the offer if needed. For now, Putin told Trump that Russian military aircraft were deployed to control the situation.
The two leaders agreed to keep in contact about the situation by phone and personal meetings, a Kremlin statement said. The White House confirmed Wednesday that the two leaders had a phone conversation about the wildfires and about trade between the countries. Putin and Trump have maintained a close relationship over the years, much to the consternation of American intelligence during the Trump presidency.
Trump’s past comments on combating forest fires at home have also raised eyebrows, garnering criticisms of insensitivity after the president lambasted California’s Democratic leadership for its handling of fires that engulfed the state last fall.
But the Russian government appeared to have a more positive reaction to the president’s offer.
“The Russian president assessed this move on the part of the US president as a guarantee of the future restoration of full-fledged bilateral relations,” said a Kremlin statement quoted by the Russian Embassy.