Putin wishes Obama a happy July 4 ‘despite differences’


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin congratulated US counterpart Barack Obama on America’s Independence Day Friday and expressed hope that bilateral relations would “successfully develop” despite their disagreements.

Putin predicted that relations between Russia and the United States “will successfully develop on a pragmatic and equal foundation despite the difficulties and differences,” the Kremlin said.

The two former Cold War adversaries “carry special responsibility for ensuring international stability and security” and “must cooperate in the interests of not just their own people, but the entire world,” Putin said.

Russia and the United States have had icy relations for months. They plumbed new depths after Moscow’s speedy seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Washington has not had an ambassador in Moscow since February, when Michael McFaul resigned.

Putin has also repeatedly attacked the United States in recent speeches while Russian state television alleged that the crisis in Ukraine and raging fighting in the east of the country was done at Washington’s bidding.

On Tuesday Putin said in a speech that Washington was blackmailing Europe to stop economic cooperation with Moscow, calling it “short-sighted, ideology-driven approaches” aimed at containing Russia.