It’s ‘Complicated’ – White House Defends John Kerry Trip To Visit Russia’s Putin

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

As Russia continues to take shots at the United States — refusing to back out of Crimea or respect Ukraine’s sovereign territory — Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Sochi this morning to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

Referring to their relationship with Putin as “complicated,” Josh Earnest admits there are still areas where the political interests of both countries overlap.

“There are a lot of things obviously on our mutual lists of interests here,” he said.

Earnest touted Russia’s impact in the agreement to put economic sanctions on Iran calling it an “important partner” and praised the country’s leadership in convincing the Assad regime to destroy their chemical weapons stockpile in Syria.

He declined to preview the specifics of the Kerry meeting with Putin, but suggested that he would “not be shy” about the differences between their two countries — especially on Ukraine.

This is Kerry’s first trip to Russia since 2013.

According to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, the trip is “part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed.”