Russian President Vladimir Putin says he wants “a constructive dialogue” with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson following the latter’s clear victory on Thursday.
Relations between the two countries are at a low ebb, but Putin is quoted in a press release from the Kremlin as expressing confidence on Friday that a constructive dialogue and full cooperation in the various areas would correspond to the interests of both countries and Europe as a whole.
Earlier in the day, a Kremlin spokesman was cautious when asked about the possibility of improved relations between Moscow and London, whose ties have been marred by persisting disagreements and a spy scandal.
Dmitri Peskov told journalists the Kremlin always hoped political forces that win elections, whatever the country, would adhere to dialogue, and focus on establishing good relations with Russia.
He added, however, that he did not know to what extent such expectations were justified in the case of the Conservatives in the UK.
For over a year now, UK-Russia ties have been badly affected by the Skripal affair, the case of a former Russian military intelligence colonel convicted of spying for the UK, swapped for other double agents, and subsequently found inanimate, along with his daughter Iulia, on a public seat in Salisbury, England, on 4 March 2018.
The British authorities accused Russian military intelligence of trying to poison him with a powerful nerve agent. Moscow denied any responsibility in the matter, which led to the biggest ever spate of diplomatic expulsions between two countries, and fresh U.S. sanctions against Moscow.
Russia and the United Kingdom are also at loggerheads on a number of international issues such as the Syrian conflict and the Ukraine crisis.