US senators start visit to Russia
A meeting of governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko with the US congressional delegation was held at the Smolny place.
The US delegation consists of Alabama Senator and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Richard Shelby, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Montana Senator Steve Daines, as well as member of the US House of Representatives from Texas Kay Granger, TASS reported.
Head of the delegation Richard Shelby said that the US congressional delegation to Russia hopes for positive outcomes of the meeting between Putin and Trump in Helsinki on July 16.
"We realize that there is an upcoming meeting between President Putin and President Trump in Helsinki. We are all hoping that something good and classy will come out of it for our countries," Shelby stressed.
Shelby informed that the members of Congress who are currently on a visit to Russia expect to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
"We are on our way later today to Moscow. And we hope to have some high-level meetings, perhaps we’ll have to see if we’ll have a chance to meet with President Putin," Shelby added.
Senator noted that he had been making regular visits to Russia for the last 40 years, and that seven years had passed since his last visit to Moscow. "[However], this is the biggest congressional delegation that has been here in a number of years, I’ve been told," he added.
Shelby also said that Russia and the US need to improve the relations that are considered tense at the present time, both countries do not have to be rivals even in light of all existing differences.
"Right now, we have a strained relationship. A lot of us believe it is important to have a better relationship with Russia. And obviously, that is the current thought of President Trump," the senator noted.
"I think we will always be competitors, because we are large countries, we have different interests, but we don’t necessarily need to be adversaries," he added.
The US congressional delegation arrived in Russia on June 30. Their first visit has been to St. Petersburg. They will then come to Moscow, where they will stay until July 5. In Moscow, the delegation members have set out to meet with Russian officials from the Federation Council and the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The visit is held against the backdrop of the preparation of the first Russian-US summit, which will be held in Helsinki on July 16.