January 21, 2017 / 8:16 AM / 7 months ago

Russia's Putin ready to meet Trump, preparations may take months: TASS

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to meet U.S. President Donald Trump but preparations for the possible meeting may take months, not weeks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday after winning the presidential contest against Hillary Clinton. Russia-U.S. relations were at their lowest since the Cold War under Barack Obama administration, with tensions around conflict in Ukraine and Syria crisis.

"This will not be in coming weeks, let's hope for the best - that the meeting will happen in the coming months," Peskov told BBC, according to TASS.

Some of Trump's opponents believe the Kremlin helped him win the White House by staging a hacking campaign to hoover up embarrassing information about Clinton, his rival.

The Kremlin denies that, saying that U.S. Democratic party used hacking allegations as an excuse for losing to Trump.

Putin and other high-ranked Russian officials have publicly praised Trump, expecting him to lift U.S. sanctions on Moscow, first put in place in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Peskov said that it would be "a big mistake" to think that Russia-U.S. relations will be "free of contradictions and disputes," during a Trump presidency.

"We indeed are the two biggest countries in the world. And we can't live without frictions, conflict of interests," Peskov was quoted by Interfax was saying on Saturday.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Toby Chopra

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