Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that he is unlikely to meet with Donald Trump before the U.S. president-elect is inaugurated on January 20.
In an interview with Japanese media published on the Kremlin website on December 13, Putin said that he was "ready at any moment" to meet with Trump.
However, he said that "it seems to me that it's necessary to give the president-elect a chance to put together his administration and take office."
Trump said in October that he would consider meeting with Putin before his inauguration if elected. He won the presidency on November 8.
Trump has repeatedly said he will seek to improve relations with Russia, which have been badly damaged by Moscow's seizure of Crimea and involvement in a deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Putin's comments came amid controversy in the United States over claims that Russia used computer hackers to interfere in the U.S. election, with the CIA reportedly concluding that Moscow's aim was to help get Trump elected over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
As he has before, Putin said that Russia welcomed Trump's stated intention of improving ties and was ready to do its part, but that it will be difficult.
Putin said that "it's widely known that the elected president of the United States has publicly called for the normalization of the Russian-American relationship. We cannot but support this."
He added that "we understand it will not be a simple task considering the extent of degradation of the Russian-American relationship. But we are prepared to do our part."
With reporting by Reuters and AP