Trump ‘congratulates’ Putin on start of 4th term: WHouse

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Monday congratulated Russian President Vladmir Putin on being sworn in for his fourth term, the White House said, while highlighting the importance of freedom of assembly, after the mass arrest of protesters.

“The president congratulates him and looks forward to a time when we can hopefully have a good relationship with Russia,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

“However, the United States believes that everyone has a right to be heard and assemble peacefully.”

On Saturday, nearly 1,600 protesters including Putin’s most vocal opponent, Alexei Navalny, were detained during nationwide rallies against the Russian leader under the slogan “Not Our Tsar.”