MOSCOW (Reuters) -- President Vladimir Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse, noting in an interview published on Thursday that the current U.S. administration had imposed dozens of sanctions on Russia.
Putin made his gloomy assessment ahead of a G20 summit in Japan later this month at which he might meet U.S. President Donald Trump.
"They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse,” Putin told the Mir TV channel, according to a Kremlin transcript.
"The current administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years.”
The Russian leader contrasted Moscow’s troubled relationship with Washington with what he described as its blossoming ties with China, a deepening strategic friendship that has alarmed some U.S. policymakers.
Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would meet Putin at the G20 in Japan, but the Kremlin said a day earlier that the idea for the meeting was "hanging in the air” and that there were no discussions on specifics yet.
LONDON (Reuters) -- The full extradition hearing to decide whether Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be sent to the United States to face accusations including spying charges will take place in February next year, a London court ruled on Friday.
Assange, 47, faces 18 counts in the U.S. including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.
"It is important that people aren’t fooled into believing that WikiLeaks is anything but a publisher,” said Assange, who appeared by videolink from a London prison, dressed in a grey T-shirt and wearing black-framed glasses.
"The U.S. government has tried to mislead the press,” he told Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
As Ben Brandon, the lawyer representing the United States, ran through a summary of the charges against him including that he had cracked a U.S. Defense network password, Assange said: "I didn’t hack anything.”
Australian-born Assange came to prominence when WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010, angering Washington which said he had put lives at risk.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the surprise departure of his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, after a combative tenure that saw her all-but-kill off traditional White House briefings to journalists.
Sanders has been one of Trump’s most loyal foot soldiers, almost constantly at his side during his tumultuous two and a half years at the White House and during the campaign before.
Trump announced her exit in a tweet and did not name a replacement.
At a White House event Thursday on reintegration into society for ex-prisoners, Trump interrupted proceedings to summon the "warrior” Sanders from the audience and lavish praise on her record.
Calling her "a friend, a woman, a great, great magnificent person,” Trump said, "she’s very popular.”
In fact, Sanders, 36, has a sometimes bitter relationship with the White House press corps and is seen as responsible for the demise of the formal daily briefing — practically an institution under previous presidents.
Pressed during one particularly combative briefing to distance herself from Trump’s characterization of the media as the "enemy of the people,” Sanders refused.
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -- Shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Friday it is in talks with Russia’s state-owned icebreaker operator to send more goods via the Arctic, which is becoming more accessible as climate change reduces the sea ice.
Russia has made developing the so-called northern sea route (NSR) - which requires new ports and heavy icebreakers to move goods - a priority, with supporters dubbing the route the northern Suez Canal.
Last summer, Maersk carried out what it said was a one-off trial, becoming the first to send a container ship - loaded with Russian fish and South Korean electronics - on the route.
At the time it denied that the route could be commercially viable, partly because it is only accessible for around three months of the year due to ice.
However, Maersk is now exploring the possibility of offering a service in cooperation with Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker company Rosatomflot, High North News reported on Friday.
CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (Reuters) -- Central American migrants eager to beat a crackdown by Mexico on its southern border with Guatemala scrambled into the country on Thursday as the government prepared to send thousands of National Guard members to plug gaps in the porous frontier.
Mexico has agreed with the United States to demonstrate by late July that it can contain a surge in U.S.-bound migrants, following a threat from U.S. President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on Mexican goods if it failed to do so.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said this week that Mexico would beef up control of its southern border, including sending 6,000 members of the National Guard. The deployment was due to begin on Wednesday though witnesses saw no signs of the deployment.
As dawn broke on Thursday, a family of Honduran migrants floated across a narrow crossing of the Suchiate River from Guatemala on a raft and staggered onto Mexican soil.