MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May this week at a G20 summit in Japan to try to improve relations between the countries, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.
British ties with Russia plunged to post-Cold War lows last year when London blamed Moscow for poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in an English city.
Moscow denies involvement in the attack, which prompted the biggest wave of diplomatic expulsions between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
“The leaders will talk over sensitive questions – as you know there are many of them …,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters at a briefing.
“… if any kind of opportunity can be found in our relations with Britain to establish new cooperation, then we will only welcome that,” he said.
British officials had no immediate comment on plans for a meeting between Putin and May at the Group of 20 summit due to be held in Osaka on Friday and Saturday.
May last met Putin at a G20 summit in Argentina in November when Putin approached her informally.
Putin said this month that the two countries should turn a page on the Skripal episode and that he hoped the next prime minister would move on from it to improve ties.
British prosecutors have charged two Russian military intelligence officers, known by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with attempted murder in their absence over the attack. They deny involvement.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams)