Russia's foreign minister is suggesting that U.S. President Donald Trump did not raise the issue of human rights with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their telephone conversation on January 28.
In the past, Russian officials have often bristled at what they claim have been Western attempts to teach the Russian government how it should treat its citizens and how it should behave on the international stage.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the first conversation between the two presidents since Trump's inauguration on January 20 was marked by "mutual respect" and a desire "to speak without moralizing, focusing on the national interests of each country."
Trump has indicated he will seek improvements in Russian-U.S. relations, which are badly strained over Moscow's interference in Ukraine and alleged meddling in the U.S. election. Russia has blamed the tension on the previous U.S. administration.
Trump and Putin have called for closer cooperation against terrorism and the extremist group Islamic State, and statements from the Kremlin and the White House indicated that was a main topic of discussion during the call.
Lavrov said that Russia is ready "at any moment" for talks with the United States on counterterrorism efforts.
Also on January 30, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it is possible the two presidents will hold talks in person sometime before a summit of the Group of 20 (G20) nations in July.
The Kremlin said after the phone call that Trump and Putin had ordered subordinates to discuss the date and place for a face-to-face meeting.
With reporting by dpa, Reuters, TASS, and Interfax