The Latest: Putin: Trumps wants better relations with Russia

The Latest: Putin: Trumps wants better relations with Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, drives the Aurus, or Cortege, limousine during his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s comments (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he believes that President Donald Trump would like to improve relations with Russia.

Putin said Trump aims at “some sort of stabilization and improvement of U.S.-Russian ties,” adding that Moscow is ready for that “at any moment.”

The Russian leader pointed at political infighting between the Democrats and the Republicans, saying it blocked any possible effort by Trump to repair the fractured ties with Russia.

Speaking at a forum of international policy experts in Sochi on Thursday, Putin said his meeting with Trump in Helsinki in July was positive even though Trump’s opponents sought to use it in the political infighting. He said he and Trump had a good discussion despite policy differences.

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4:25 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia would only use its nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack.

Putin said Thursday Russia’s military doctrine doesn’t envisage a preventative nuclear strike. He noted that Russia would only launch a nuclear strike if its early warning systems spot missiles heading toward its territory, adding that “the aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable.”

Speaking at a policy forum, Putin that “when we see a coming strike on the territory of Russia, we will retaliate.” He acknowledged it will mean a global catastrophe, but emphasized that “we can’t be those who initiated it.”

“We would be victims of aggression and would get to Heavens as martyrs,” while those who would launch the strike would “just die and not even have time to repent.”